Earlier estimates of the total number of ants in the world have been based on approximations based on the planet’s total insect population. Scientists have also focused on larger things.
The new study estimates that there are at least 20 quadrillion ants in the world. This is a number that is nearly 20 times higher than previous estimates.
The study was conducted by scientists in Australia, Hong Kong and Germany. It used the data from 489 different studies to estimate the total number of ants in the world. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study is a good example of the bottom up approach. Scientists took an exhaustive survey of existing ant count studies. They looked at all major habitats and continents and used standardised methods of counting. They then extrapolated their findings to estimate the total number of ants in different parts of the world.
The study found that ants make up about 20 percent of human biomass. This is a relatively small percentage, however, compared to the biomass of mammals or wild birds.
The study also found that there are at least 13,000 species of ants in the world. The average ant weighs about 60 milligrams.
The total mass of all ants on Earth exceeds the total mass of all wild mammals and birds combined. The dry carbon in ant bodies adds up to at least 12 megatons.
The study has helped to provide a baseline population for scientists to track ant numbers as they respond to changing climate and habitat. It also helps to understand the role insects play in ecosystems.