How many ants live on Earth? There are about 20 quadrillion ants on Earth, or 20,000,000,000,000,000 (the number 20 followed by 15 zeros).
They weigh more than mammals and wild birds combined.
Through intensive and extensive data analysis, science is coming amazingly close to finding the solutions. When it comes to ants, a team led by Würzburg biologists Sabine Nooten and Patrick Schultheiss has done just that.
Sabine Nooten, also lead author and recently moved from Hong Kong to Würzburg, clarifies: “According to our estimates, the global ant population is 20 x 1015 – that is, 20 quadrillion animals. That is a 20 with 15 zeros, which is hard to grasp and appreciate.”
It becomes clearer when you calculate the biomass of the animals. This amounts to 12 megatons of carbon.
“That exceeds the combined biomass of wild birds and mammals and corresponds to about 20 percent of humanity’s biomass,” Patrick Schultheiss explains.
In order to calculate the number of ants, the team reviewed a wide variety of existing studies on the insects, ultimately evaluated about 500 suitable papers, and combined them in a database.