|MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology|
According to Hölldobler and Wilson (1990), up to 1/3 (33%) of the terrestrial animal biomass (NOTE: not including aquatic animal, or terrestrial and aquatic flowering plants and microorganisms) was made up of ants and termites. A study made in Finland produced a terrestrial animal biomass of ants alone of 10%. In the Brazilian rain forest the biomass of ants exceeds that of terrestrial vertebrates by four times! Thus a figure for ants of 15% of all terrestrial animal biomass is not out of line. I would doubt that they are 15% of all living things because plants and microorganisms make up a large part of the earth's biomass and the biomass of marine organisms (none of which are ants) is usually not included in such calculations. References: Hölldobler, Bert, and E. O. Wilson. 1990. The Ants. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. LaSalle, J., and I. D. Gauld. 1993. Hymenoptera and Biodiversity. C.A.B. International, Oxon, U.K.
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