Animals

The 10 Animals With the Highest Populations on the Planet

Life is abundant on our planet. The astounding diversity of animal life exists on Earth. Although more than 2.1 million animal species have been identified, millions more are thought to be hidden from discovery by zoologists. While some of these animal species are extremely endangered, others are present in amounts that are hard to imagine. These ten species are thought to have some of the biggest population counts on the planet, yet the precise numbers of these creatures are impossible to determine.

Crustaceans
1. Copepods

The majority of crustaceans are aquatic arthropods. Crustaceans include shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. The most common animal on the earth might be a particular class of tiny crustaceans.

Copepods inhabit almost all freshwater and marine habitats. Copepod species number about 12,000 among those that have been identified. These tiny organisms are usually only a few millimeters in size.

Copepods consume phytoplankton, algae, and bacteria as food. They serve as vital prey for a variety of aquatic animals, including large whales and microscopic fish.

The precise number of copepods in Earth’s oceans is unknown (no copepod census is planned for the foreseeable future), but it is estimated to be 1,347,000,000,000,000,000,000!

2. Krill

Another incredible quantity of crustaceans are krill. In example, it is believed that there are approximately 500 trillion Antarctic krill. These crustaceans are the foundation of their ecosystem’s food chain and consume phytoplankton. Whales, fish, and penguins all eat this krill.

Insects
3. Ant

The ant is without a doubt the most common bug on the earth. With the exception of Antarctica, all continents are home to these tiny invertebrates. The number of known species of ants exceeds 10,000. There are an estimated 20 quadrillion ants in the world. 20 million billion, or 20,000,000,000,000,000, is that amount. In fact, some researchers think that the 20 quadrillion ants that are thought to live on Earth may be underestimated! The world’s ant population is more biomass than all wild birds and non-human mammals put together.

Among the thousands of ant species found worldwide, the Argentine ant may be the most common, but we cannot be positive. Although these ants are native to South America, they have unintentionally traveled around the globe by stowing away in commercial shipments. Massive colonies of Argentine ants can span hundreds of miles. These colonies have numerous breeding females rather than a single queen, which indicates that the ants reproduce widely.

Fish
4. Bristlemouth

A total of 34,300 fish species have been described. Among those tens of thousands of species, bristlemouths (also called lightfish) are considered to outnumber all other fish. The world’s oceans contain billions, if not quadrillions, of these fish swimming about.

Fish with bristles are small and bioluminescent. In the ocean, significant sunlight only reaches a depth of roughly 650 feet. Even the smallest light glimmers can occasionally be seen up to half a mile below the surface, but only in ideal circumstances. But bristlemouths can survive up to three kilometers below the surface. These fish have organs along their flanks called photophores that emit light, despite their completely dark surroundings.

The bristlemouth gets its name from the bristles on its teeth, which it uses to snatch up its meal. Generally, the fish eats smaller fish, zooplankton, and crustaceans. Larger deep-sea fish use bristlemouths as major prey in return.

Because the bristlemouth inhabits such deep, unreachable depths, nothing is known about it, including the size of its population. Still, bristlemouths probably outnumber all other fish species worldwide. Furthermore, they are thought to be the most common vertebrate on Earth at the moment.

Amphibians
5. Frog

Even though there are currently 8,689 identified species of amphibians, new species are found each year. Although the most common amphibian species on Earth is unknown, frogs are most likely the species.

A plausible contender for the title of most numerous amphibian globally could be the widespread European common frog, or Rana temporaria. Another option is the wood frog (Lithobates sylvatica). North America is home to this frog, extending all the way to the Arctic Circle. Another option is the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis). In the middle of the 20th century, scientists raised these frogs to be used in human pregnancy tests, which led to an artificially inflated population.

All of these frogs have flourished, at least in part due of their diverse diet, even though the precise population sizes of these species are still unknown. They will often consume anything they can catch. They can also adjust to different climates.

Birds
6. Red-billed quelea

Despite the fact that over 10,000 bird species have been identified, just one wild species is more prevalent than the rest. The range of the red-billed quelea, Quelea quelea, is approximately two-thirds of Africa. The lowest estimate of the current population of these birds is estimated to be 1.5 billion. Up to 10 billion are thought to exist, according to some estimates!

Although these birds have a similar appearance to finches and sparrows, African farmers do not consider them to be innocuous songbirds. These seed-eating birds can destroy entire grain harvests in groups of thousands or even millions. In Africa, these tiny birds are among the most despised agricultural pests.

Many different predators use red-billed queleas as food. Nevertheless, despite the high incidence of predation, the population of these birds continues to increase since they frequently nest several times a year.

7. Domestic Chicken

All it takes to see the world’s most populous bird is a trip to a chicken farm. The number of domestic chickens on Earth surpasses that of the wild red-billed quelea and likely all other birds. There are around 33 billion domestic chickens, according to some estimates. However, since domestic chicken breeding is controlled and maximized through human agricultural methods, the comparison is not apples to apples.

Mammals
8. Humans

It’s possible that humans are the most numerous mammal on Earth. The United Nations projected that in November 2022, there will be more people on Earth than eight billion.

9-10. Rats and Mice

Some species, including the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) and the house mouse (Mus musculus), may eventually outnumber people on Earth. There is a direct correlation between the increase in human population and the expansion of rats and mice. Human activity is a common source of food and shelter for these rodents. The precise quantity of mice and rats is unclear, as it is for the majority of the species on the list.

Trophic Pyramid

One pattern stands out when looking at the list of creatures with the highest population on Earth. Every animal on the list is found close to the base of the trophic pyramid, sometimes referred to as the food chain, with the exception of humans. The plants that employ photosynthesis as a source of energy are at the base of the pyramid. Herbivores eat those plants, and then carnivores eat those plants. There are fewer creatures in each higher trophic level because only a little portion of the energy from each level is carried over. For this reason, the list of the most common animals in the world does not include any apex predators.