The abundance, biomass, and distribution of ants on Earth.

  title={The abundance, biomass, and distribution of ants on Earth.},
  author={Patrick Schultheiss and Sabine S. Nooten and Runxi Wang and Mark K. L. Wong and François Brassard and Benoit Guénard},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  volume={119 40},
Knowledge on the distribution and abundance of organisms is fundamental to understanding their roles within ecosystems and their ecological importance for other taxa. Such knowledge is currently lacking for insects, which have long been regarded as the "little things that run the world". Even for ubiquitous insects, such as ants, which are of tremendous ecological significance, there is currently neither a reliable estimate of their total number on Earth nor of their abundance in particular… 

Improving estimates of global ant biomass and abundance

  • T. FayleP. Klimeš
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2022
Ants are ubiquitous on Earth, being found in all terrestrial biomes, except for polar regions. Their eusociality, the ability to form mutualistic relationships with a wide range of other organisms,

Ecological change and conflict reduction led to the evolution of a transformative social behavior in ants

It is found that trophallaxis evolved early only in ant lineages that had reduced intra-colonial conflict by losing workers ability to reproduce, and likely contributed to the large colony sizes and speciation patterns of the ants that use it and dominate the authors' landscapes today.

Ant communities in disturbed subtropical landscapes: is climate more important than stochastic processes?

Functional trait-based approaches have provided advances in the understanding of community assembly rules. Broad generalisations remain, however, limited due to the idiosyncratic nature of taxa and



The biomass distribution on Earth

The overall biomass composition of the biosphere is assembled, establishing a census of the ≈550 gigatons of carbon (Gt C) of biomass distributed among all of the kingdoms of life and shows that terrestrial biomass is about two orders of magnitude higher than marine biomass and estimate a total of ≈6 Gt C of marine biota, doubling the previous estimated quantity.

How Many Species of Insects and Other Terrestrial Arthropods Are There on Earth?

  • N. Stork
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Annual review of entomology
  • 2018
With 1 million insect species named, this suggests that 80% remain to be discovered and that a greater focus should be placed on less-studied taxa such as many families of Coleoptera, Diptera, and Hymenoptera and on poorly sampled parts of the world.

Global distribution of earthworm diversity

A global dataset of sampled earthworm communities from over 7000 sites in 56 countries is compiled to predict patterns in earthworm diversity, abundance, and biomass, and the environmental drivers shaping these patterns are identified.

Soil nematode abundance and functional group composition at a global scale

High-resolution spatial maps of the global abundance of soil nematodes and the composition of functional groups show that soil nematode are found in higher abundances in sub-Arctic regions, than in temperate or tropical regions.

Insect diversity: facts, fiction and speculation*

Assessment of the faunal importance of the canopy in relation to that of other rain forest biotopes requires comparative quantitative studies, and the preliminary results of one such study suggest that over 42 million arthropods may be found in a hectare of Seram rain forest.

A global database of ant species abundances.

Comprehensive species abundance data of more than 2,693 species and 7,953 morphospecies from local assemblages collected at 4,212 locations around the world is presented to test relationships between assemblage structure and environmental and biogeographic factors.

Insect Declines in the Anthropocene.

  • D. Wagner
  • Environmental Science
    Annual review of entomology
  • 2019
Because the geographic extent and magnitude of insect declines are largely unknown, there is an urgent need for monitoring efforts, especially across ecological gradients, which will help to identify important causal factors in declines.

More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas

This analysis estimates a seasonal decline of 76%, and mid-summer decline of 82% in flying insect biomass over the 27 years of study, and shows that this decline is apparent regardless of habitat type, while changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics cannot explain this overall decline.

Energy and Large-Scale Patterns of Animal- and Plant-Species Richness

  • D. Currie
  • Environmental Science
    The American Naturalist
  • 1991
It is found that, in the four vertebrate classes studied, 80%-93% of the variability in species richness could be statistically explained by a monotonically increasing function of a single variable: annual potential evapotranspiration (PET).

The global distribution of known and undiscovered ant biodiversity

It is found that ants and different vertebrate groups have distinct features in their patterns of richness and rarity, underscoring the need to consider a diversity of taxa in conservation and raising confidence that conservation of areas important for small-ranged vertebrates will benefit invertebrates while providing a “treasure map” to guide future discovery.