More than 20 quadrillion A recent study counts the number of ants in the world

More than 20 quadrillion A recent study counts the number of ants in the world Have you ever asked yourself about the number of ants in the world? The answer may seem impossible, but knowing this contributes to understanding the ecosystem around us.  Have you ever wondered how many stars there are in our galaxy? Or about the number of grains of sand in the desert? Or the number of ants that live on the surface of the earth?  It may seem impossible questions. However, science is surprisingly close to finding solutions every day. A recent research study published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS) was able to count the number of ants in the world. They estimated that the number of ants was about 20 quadrillion (a quadrillion = a million billion).  Dominant kingdoms Ants are among the most successful and dominant living creatures. Its high degree of social organization enables it to colonize almost all ecosystems and regions around the world. Over millions of years, ants have developed powerful interactions with a large number of organisms ranging from plants to fungi and other insects, or even larger vertebrates. Some animals depend on ants to drive away their prey.  According to a report published by The Conversation , ants play many important roles in maintaining the ecological balance, including aerating the soil, spreading seeds, and breaking down organic matter. A recent study, reported by the British newspaper The Guardian , indicated that ants can be more effective than pesticides used by farmers. Therefore, ants are an important part of the food chain.  But, how many ants are there around the world? What is its total weight? What is its relation to other living things, including humans? What about its spread around the world, and why do some regions of the world host more types of ants than others?  Although these questions may seem futile at first glance, they have enormous implications for our understanding of natural processes, simply because ants are major players in most ecosystems and have many complex interactions with other organisms.  Ant population statistics So, a team from the Laboratory of Insect Biodiversity and Biogeography at the University of Hong Kong (University of Hong Kong) used a new method, in an attempt to count the number of ants around the world.  According to a press release published by the University of Hong Kong, Patrick Schulthes, lead author of the study, said: "Researchers have always been busy studying ant communities all over the world. They have collected thousands of ant samples to identify their species. They often count ant populations in their research papers."  Previous ant population estimates have ranged around a quadrillion (or one preceded by 15 zeros). These estimates were based on thoughtful guesswork.  "In this study we were able to collect data from nearly 500 different studies coming from all over the world, written in many different languages. In this way we were able to determine the density of ants in different parts of the globe, as well as estimate the total number on Earth," Schulthes adds. .  Uneven distribution The current study reported that the number of ants ranges between two and 20 times the previously estimated number, ie 20 quadrillion (20 preceded by 15 zeros).  In terms of ant biomass, the total mass of ants on Earth is equivalent to the mass of 12 million tons of carbon, which means that the biomass of ants weighs more than the mass of all birds and land mammals combined, and is also equivalent to 20% of human biomass.  The study also reported that ants are distributed unevenly on the surface of the earth. As a general pattern, tropical regions have more ants than other regions, but this also depends on the local ecosystem.  "Ants are abundant in forests and arid regions. Their prevalence is less in man-made areas, which has potential consequences for the ecosystems provided by ant communities, such as decomposition and pest control," study co-author Sabine Notten notes.

Have you ever asked yourself about the number of ants in the world? The answer may seem impossible, but knowing this contributes to understanding the ecosystem around us.

Have you ever wondered how many stars there are in our galaxy? Or about the number of grains of sand in the desert? Or the number of ants that live on the surface of the earth?

It may seem impossible questions. However, science is surprisingly close to finding solutions every day. A recent research study published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS) was able to count the number of ants in the world. They estimated that the number of ants was about 20 quadrillion (a quadrillion = a million billion).

Dominant kingdoms
Ants are among the most successful and dominant living creatures. Its high degree of social organization enables it to colonize almost all ecosystems and regions around the world. Over millions of years, ants have developed powerful interactions with a large number of organisms ranging from plants to fungi and other insects, or even larger vertebrates. Some animals depend on ants to drive away their prey.

According to a report published by The Conversation , ants play many important roles in maintaining the ecological balance, including aerating the soil, spreading seeds, and breaking down organic matter. A recent study, reported by the British newspaper The Guardian , indicated that ants can be more effective than pesticides used by farmers. Therefore, ants are an important part of the food chain.

But, how many ants are there around the world? What is its total weight? What is its relation to other living things, including humans? What about its spread around the world, and why do some regions of the world host more types of ants than others?

Although these questions may seem futile at first glance, they have enormous implications for our understanding of natural processes, simply because ants are major players in most ecosystems and have many complex interactions with other organisms.

Ant population statistics
So, a team from the Laboratory of Insect Biodiversity and Biogeography at the University of Hong Kong (University of Hong Kong) used a new method, in an attempt to count the number of ants around the world.

According to a press release published by the University of Hong Kong, Patrick Schulthes, lead author of the study, said: "Researchers have always been busy studying ant communities all over the world. They have collected thousands of ant samples to identify their species. They often count ant populations in their research papers."

Previous ant population estimates have ranged around a quadrillion (or one preceded by 15 zeros). These estimates were based on thoughtful guesswork.

"In this study we were able to collect data from nearly 500 different studies coming from all over the world, written in many different languages. In this way we were able to determine the density of ants in different parts of the globe, as well as estimate the total number on Earth," Schulthes adds. .

Uneven distribution
The current study reported that the number of ants ranges between two and 20 times the previously estimated number, ie 20 quadrillion (20 preceded by 15 zeros).

In terms of ant biomass, the total mass of ants on Earth is equivalent to the mass of 12 million tons of carbon, which means that the biomass of ants weighs more than the mass of all birds and land mammals combined, and is also equivalent to 20% of human biomass.

The study also reported that ants are distributed unevenly on the surface of the earth. As a general pattern, tropical regions have more ants than other regions, but this also depends on the local ecosystem.

"Ants are abundant in forests and arid regions. Their prevalence is less in man-made areas, which has potential consequences for the ecosystems provided by ant communities, such as decomposition and pest control," study co-author Sabine Notten notes.
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