A team of researchers has managed to estimate the number of ants present on our planet, and the figure is mind-boggling. You would never imagine how many of these little insects populate our world and their impact on the ecosystem.
A discovery that surprises by its magnitude
The study conducted by the University of Würzburg in Germany and published in the scientific journal PNAS reveals that there are 20,000,000,000,000,000 (20,000 trillion) ants on Earth. These insects are found in every corner of the globe, and their numbers far exceed previous estimates.
Sabine S. Nooten, an insect ecologist and co-principal author of the study, tells CNN that the amount of ants is much larger than expected. The large amount of ants we found came as a big surprise,” she says.
A rigorous method to arrive at this estimate
To arrive at this impressive figure, the researchers analyzed nearly 500 previous studies and extracted data from more than 1,300 sampling sites spread over all continents. Thanks to this information, they were not only able to estimate the number of ants on our planet, but also to predict the evolution of their population in the future.
Scientists believe that deforestation and changes in modern agriculture will have a direct impact on ant numbers. Patrick Schultheiss, a researcher at the University of Würzburg and co-author of the study, explains that “no one has ever collected a global data set on ants.
A revelation that underscores the importance of ants in our ecosystem
Adam Hart, professor of science communication at the University of Gloucestershire, also finds the discovery surprising. According to him, the previous figures were almost imaginary: “This new research, based on nearly 500 studies worldwide, gives us the best answer so far to this difficult question.
Professor Hart points out that “the most astonishing aspect is not just the total number of ants, but the proportion of biomass they represent: one-fifth of the biomass of all humans. This really highlights the real importance of ants. Indeed, these insects play a crucial role in the regulation of our ecosystem and the preservation of biodiversity.
Ants, essential insects for our planet
In short, this study highlights the incredible number of ants that populate our planet and their vital importance for the balance of our ecosystem. These small insects, although discreet, play a crucial role in the preservation of biodiversity and the regulation of our environment.
It is therefore essential to become aware of their presence and their value, in order to better protect and respect these living beings that contribute greatly to the well-being of our Earth. So, the next time you come across an ant farm, think of the phenomenal quantity of ants that work every day to preserve our planet!