Lists of organisms by population

A murmuration of common starlings. Numbering over 310 million, this species contains at least as many individuals as the United States does humans.[1][2]

This is a collection of lists of organisms by their population. While most numbers are estimates, they have been made by the experts in their fields. Species population is a science falling under the purview of Population ecology and biogeography. Individuals are counted by census, as carried out for the piping plover;[3][4] using the transect method, as done for the mountain plover;[5] and beginning in 2012 by satellite, with the emperor penguin being the first subject counted in this manner.[6]

More than 99 percent of all species, amounting to over five billion species,[7] that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct.[8][9] Estimates on the number of Earth's current species range from 10 million to 14 million,[10] of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.[11] According to another study, the number of described species has been estimated at 1,899,587.[12] 2000–2009 saw approximately 17,000 species described per year.[12] The total number of undescribed organisms is unknown, but marine microbial species alone could number 20,000,000.[12] The number of quantified species will ipso facto always lag behind the number of described species, and species contained in these lists tend to be on the K side of the r/K selection continuum. More recently, in May 2016, scientists reported that 1 trillion species are estimated to be on Earth currently with only one-thousandth of one percent described.[13] The total amount of related DNA base pairs on Earth is estimated at 5.0 x 1037 and weighs 50 billion tonnes.[14] In comparison, the total mass of the biosphere has been estimated to be as much as 4 TtC (trillion tons of carbon).[15] In July 2016, scientists reported identifying a set of 355 genes from the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of all organisms living on Earth.[16]



Mammals (Mammalia)

Birds (Aves)

Reptiles (Reptilia)

Anima Population Notes
Chinese alligator 100–200[17] Only in the wild. Chinese alligators are quite prolific in captivity, with estimates of the total captive population at over 10,000 animals, mostly in the Anhui Research Centre of Chinese Alligator Reproduction and the Madras Crocodile Bank.
Komodo dragon 4,000–5,000 Their populations are restricted to the islands of Gili Motang (100), Gili Dasami (100), Rinca (1,300), Komodo (1,700), and Flores (perhaps 2,000).[18] However, there are concerns that there may presently be only 350 breeding females.[19]

Fish (Osteichthyes+Chondrichthyes+Agnatha)

There are an estimated 3,500,000,000,000 (3.5 trillion) fish in the ocean.[20] In the last 100 years, the number of small fish – such as pilchards, herrings, anchovies, sprats and sardines – has more than doubled. It is caused by a major decline in big ‘predator fish’ such as sharks, tuna and cod due to over-fishing.[21]


Insects (Insecta)

Recent figures indicate that there are more than 200 million insects for each human on the planet. An article in The New York Times claimed that the world holds 300 pounds of insects for every pound of humans.[22] Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. Their population is estimated as 107–108 billion.[23]


According to NASA in 2005, there were over 400 billion trees on our globe.[24] However, more recently, in 2015, using better methods, the global tree count has been estimated at about 3 trillion.[25] Other studies show that the Amazonian forest alone yields approximately 430 billion trees.[26] Extrapolations from data compiled over a period of 10 years suggest that greater Amazonia, which includes the Amazon Basin and the Guiana Shield, harbors around 390 billion individual trees.[27]

See also


  1. BirdLife International (2012). "Sturnus vulgaris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. IUCN. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  2. "U.S. POPClock Projection". U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center. "2011 International Piping Plover Census: Study Description". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  4. "Positive Piping Plover Count". Government of Saskatchewan. 6 Nov 2006. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  5. "Mountain plover survey guidelines — Wyoming" (PDF). United States Fish and Wildlife Service. March 2002. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  6. Dell'Amore, Christine (13 April 2012). "Emperor Penguins Counted From Space—A First". National Geographic News. National Geographic. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  7. Kunin, W.E.; Gaston, Kevin, eds. (31 December 1996). The Biology of Rarity: Causes and consequences of rare—common differences. ISBN 978-0412633805. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  8. Stearns, Beverly Peterson; Stearns, S. C.; Stearns, Stephen C. (2000). Watching, from the Edge of Extinction. Yale University Press. p. 1921. ISBN 978-0-300-08469-6. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
  9. Novacek, Michael J. (8 November 2014). "Prehistory's Brilliant Future". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  10. G. Miller; Scott Spoolman (2012). Environmental Science - Biodiversity Is a Crucial Part of the Earth's Natural Capital. Cengage Learning. p. 62. ISBN 1-133-70787-4. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
  11. Mora, C.; Tittensor, D.P.; Adl, S.; Simpson, A.G.; Worm, B. (23 August 2011). "How many species are there on Earth and in the ocean?". PLOS Biology. 9: e1001127. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127. PMC 3160336Freely accessible. PMID 21886479.
  12. 1 2 3 Pennak, Sara; et al. (18 January 2012). "State of observed species: A decade of species discovery in review" (PDF). International Institute for Species Exploration; Arizona State University. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
  13. Staff (2 May 2016). "Researchers find that Earth may be home to 1 trillion species". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  14. Nuwer, Rachel (18 July 2015). "Counting All the DNA on Earth". The New York Times. New York: The New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  15. "The Biosphere: Diversity of Life". Aspen Global Change Institute. Basalt, CO. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
  16. Wade, Nicholas (25 July 2016). "Meet Luca, the Ancestor of All Living Things". New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  17. Alligators, River Dolphins, Giant Salamanders In China - China | Facts And Details
  18. Trooper Walsh; Murphy, James Jerome; Claudio Ciofi; Colomba De LA Panouse (2002). Komodo Dragons: Biology and Conservation (Zoo and Aquarium Biology and Conservation Series). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books. ISBN 1-58834-073-2.
  19. "Ora (Komodo Island Monitor or Komodo Dragon)". American Museum of Natural History. Archived from the original on March 7, 2010. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
  20. Times of Change ... from Energetical, Financial, Political to Personal Change: Trillion
  21. Sardine population explodes due to two-thirds decline in predator fish | Mail Online
  22. Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Numbers of Insects
  23. Embery, Joan and Lucaire, Ed (1983) Collection of Amazing Animal Facts.
  24. Going Out On A Limb With A Tree-Person Ratio : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR
  25. Ehrenberg, Rachel (2 September 2015). "Global count reaches 3 trillion trees - Approach combines ground-based surveys with satellite imaging to find higher density than anticipated.". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2015.18287. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
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