20 Sep 2022 05:32 GMT
Much of the research has focused on the role they play in our world.
An international group of scientists studied the number of ants on Earth and their mass, and highlighted the importance of these insects for life on our planet. The study was published this Monday by the Biological Center of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.
The scientists underlined that they were not the first to calculate the number of ants on our planet, but they stated that systematic and empirically derived estimates were not lacking in their study. They concluded that there about 20 quadrillion (20 billion million) ants.
In addition, according to their estimates they weigh around 12 million tons of carbon (The mass of organisms is typically measured in terms of their carbon composition.) This figure exceeds the mass of all the world’s wild birds and wild mammals combined. It is also one fifth of the total weight of humans.
Much of the research has focused on the role ants play in our world. Firstly, these insects provide vital “ecosystem services” for humans, such as help in the agricultural sector, being used instead of pesticides. At the same time, the ants are part of the food chain, aerating the soil, dispersing seeds, breaking down organic material, and creating habitat for other animals.
The crucial role of insects was mentioned by different biologists, including Edward O. Wilson, who stated that insects are “the little creatures that rule the world“. Their numbers are declining due to habitat destruction and fragmentation, the use of chemicals and climate change, which worries the authors of the study, which they hope to provide a basis for future research.