There Are an Estimated 20 Quadrillion Ants on Earth

Information from 489 ant-related studies reveals that there are likely more than 20 quadrillion ants on Earth, according to researchers from the University of Hong Kong and the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg in Germany.

What to Know

  • There are at least 20 quadrillion, or 20,000 trillion, ants in the world, a number that is an estimated two to 20 times higher than earlier projections.

  • Two thirds of the world’s ants are found in the ecosystems of tropical forests and savannahs.

  • There are more than 15,700 named species and subspecies of ants on the planet, and probably an equal number that have yet to be described.

  • The ant biomass across the globe weighs around 12 megatons, which is more than all wild birds and mammals combined and is about twice the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

  • Ants are essential to ecosystems around the world. They work as engineers, moving dirt, distributing seeds, recycling organic matter, hosting organisms, and serving as predators and prey.

This is a summary of the article, “The Abundance, Biomass, and Distribution of Ants on Earth,” published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on September 19, 2022. The full article can be found on

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