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Number of ants on Earth estimated at 20 quadrillion in new research & More Latest News Here

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There are many more ants worldwide than previously thought. In a new study, a group of international scientists estimates the number of ants at about twenty quadrillion. Converted this means that there are about 2.5 million ants for every person in the world.

The figure is significantly higher than previous estimates from the 1990s, when the number of above-ground ants was estimated by science between one and ten quadrillion.

Counts at 1300 locations

That 1994 study, conducted by two American biologists, was based on the ant density in areas in southern England and was then calculated for the entire world.

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The conclusions in the new study, led by an ecologist from the University of Würzburg, are based on 450 other studies and counts at some 1,300 locations around the world.

The screening shows that nearly two-thirds of above-ground ants live in tropical forests and savannas. The actual number of ants may be even higher: there are no figures for certain regions and habitats.

Crucial for ecosystems

The researchers write in their article in the authoritative scientific journal PNAS that the ants on Earth weigh more than all mammals and birds combined.

The insects form a crucial link in ecosystems, partly because they disperse plant seeds.

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