How Many Ants Exist on Earth?
Earlier estimates of the global ant population have been based on extrapolating numbers from particular regions of the planet. But ants can be found in many different habitats on every continent, and researchers wanted to know whether their populations are impacted by environmental change.
Scientists from the University of Hong Kong’s School of Biological Sciences estimated the total number of ants on Earth, using a bottom-up approach. The researchers compiled data from existing ant populations studies and used them to calculate the population size of ants in different regions.
The researchers looked at 500 ant population studies that had been conducted around the world. They analyzed data from 489 of these studies to calculate the total mass of ants on Earth. They found that the total biomass of ants on Earth is about 12 million tons, which is two to twenty times higher than previous estimates.
The scientists estimated that ants weigh more than all of the world’s wild mammals and birds combined. The mass of ants on Earth is also higher than the combined biomass of humans and non-human mammals. The researchers also found that ant populations are declining, possibly due to habitat destruction, climate change, and invasive species.
Scientists from the University of Hong Hong’s School of Biological Sciences estimated the number of ants on Earth, using ant population size estimates from 489 studies. They found that ants are abundant in tropical climates. However, the researchers found that ants are less common in North America and central Africa.