If you think the human race is overpopulating the planet while it consists of only about 8 billion individuals, you should know that the number of ants is much higher. More than you probably even dared to think.
Ants are some of the most amazing creatures that God has put on this Earth. We’re talking about the longest-living insects and also some of the world’s strongest creatures in relation to their sizes. Ants are capable of carrying up to 50 times their own body weight.
20 quadrillion ants exist on Earth
According to a new study that ScienceAlert tells us about, there are about 20 quadrillion ants living on Earth. That translates to 20,000,000,000,000,000 (20 followed by 15 zeroes), and it means a number that’s between 2 and 20 times higher than what previous estimations claimed.
But ants are not important only for themselves. They also play a huge role in the environment. Ants can aerate the soil, break down organic material, assure the habitat for animals, and more.
Patrick Schultheiss, a co-lead author of the study, explained about ants as The Guardian quotes:
They are very important for nutrient cycling, decomposition processes, plant seed dispersal and the perturbation of soil. Ants are also an extremely diverse group of insects, with the different species fulfilling a wide range of functions. But most of all, it is their high abundance that makes them key ecological players.
If you’re already feeling dizzy after reading how many ants are estimated to exist on Earth, you may also remain astounded by how many species of these fantastic creatures dwell on our planet. Scientists claim that there are over 15,700 species and subspecies of these insects. There are even many species that didn’t yet receive a name!
For the new research, experts analyzed 489 studies of populations of ants that were conducted by other scientists from various parts of the world.