RESEARCH: Ant numbers – how many Ants are there in the world?

The number of humans in the world is about 8 billion. But how many ants are there? 

Entomologists (insect scientists) from the University of Wurzburg in Germany and the University of Hong Kong published their findings of global ant populations in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in September 2022.

The entomologists studied 489 research papers about ant populations. 

Leafcutter Ant

Ants are found everywhere on Earth, except Antarctica, Greenland, and Iceland. Tropical regions have the most ant populations. Forests and drylands have more ant populations than urban areas.

They found that there are more than 12,000 known species of ants. Most ants are black, brown, or red, growing up to 3 centimetres (an inch) long. 

The entomologists estimated that there are 20 quadrillion ants in the world – that means that there are 2.5 million ants for every human being.

Leafcutter Ant

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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