How Many Cells Does an Ant Have?

How Many Cells Does an Ant Have?

Ants are social insects that cooperate and coordinate with others to perform different activities and have multiple cells in their bodies.

How Many Cells Does an Ant Have? An ant has almost 20 to 22 million cells distributed all over the body to form different organs like stinger, legs, digestive system, and eyes. Moreover, each body part contains a different number of cells, like 250,000 in the brain, 40,000 in the heart, 6 to 8 million in an exoskeleton, 0.5 to 1 million in the legs, and 10,000 in the stinger and antennae. In the same way, the number depends on factors like species type, age, gender, size, and weight. For example, tiny pharaoh ants have fewer cells than large carpenter ants and Amazonian ants. 

These insects have a long lifespan as they can survive for almost 20 to 30 years if there is little risk of attack from an intruder or predator.

Furthermore, they can protect themselves efficiently due to advanced structures like antennae, gaster, and pinchers, which are made of thousands of cells that collectively form tissues and organs.

Are ants unicellular or multicellular?

Unicellular organisms have a single cell as their bodies are simpler in structure. Therefore, they rely on a single structure for all their activities, like bacteria.

Moreover, multicellular organisms have multiple cells in their bodies, making the systems complex and efficient.

Ants include the category of multicellular organisms as they have multiple cells and contain specialized internal organs.

Furthermore, you can look at these tiny creatures with eyes, legs, and other body parts that give an idea of their complexity.

What are the components of an ant body? 

An ant body comprises three distinct parts: the head region on the top, the thorax region that comes right after the head, and the abdominal region at the end.

Many external and internal structures make it a living organism with several distinguishing characteristics.

In addition, you can see two large compound eyes on the head and pinchers that help bite the predators. They have jaws or mandibles that help grasp and crush the food particles.

They have spiracles, a less complex heart, a nervous system, and two stomachs for digesting and storing purposes.

Furthermore, you can see a large antenna, gaster, stingers, acidopore, and many other fine structures on their bodies that are made of multiple cells.

How many cells are present in ants?

The number of cells in the ants varies depending on the species type and age of the insects. In addition, the size of every organ varies and requires a different number of basic components to form tissues, organelles, and organs.

There are almost 20 to 22 million cells in a single ant that are distributed all over the body tissues, which form different organelles and organs, resulting in a complex organism.

Furthermore, their number varies in each organ according to size and function, as larger and more complex organs need more cells to develop the whole structure.


The heart of ants is not as complex as in humans, with different chambers that allow the movement of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.

Like all other vital organs, it is located in the abdominal region, the last segment of its body.

Moreover, the heart consists of a long tube or aorta that carries hemolymph to the head or pumps it back towards the abdominal region.

The heart has almost 40,000 basic units as it extends tubes to all the body parts and maintains blood flow.


The brains of ants are unique structures that help perform functions like movement and responding to situations.

It helps connect with the community and cooperate to improve living standards. Almost 250,000 cells in their brain regulate all the activities, including hunger, pain, happiness, etc.

Moreover, an interesting fact about the brains of ants is that they can regrow their brains. This advanced and simple brain helps determine the direction of movement and the distance covered.

Digestive system 

They have no complex digestive system; they rely entirely on the stomach to digest food and process liquids to turn them into waste.

These have two stomachs, one known as a crop that stores excessive food for use under unfavorable conditions and the second for digestion purposes.

There are almost a billion such units in the human digestive system. In comparison, these tiny insects have a few million cells in their digestive system that solely depends on the stomachs or Malpighian tubules.


It is the external layer of chitin covering the internal body organs and protecting them from environmental stress.

It is almost 1.4 to 108.9µm wide covering that provides support and structure to these insects as they lack bones and internal structures.

Moreover, almost 6 to 8 million cells are present in the exoskeleton as it covers the whole body and forms a thick layer.


They have a pair of 3 legs present on the left-right side of their body that helps them run fast. The legs have different segments connected to each other and hooked claws.

These claws help climb on the walls and tough surfaces, providing a strong grip. Almost 0.5 to 1 million units contribute to the formation of legs that vary according to size and species.

Smaller ants have small legs that contain fewer cells, while those with bigger legs have more than them.

Antenna and stinger 

You can see antennae on the head region of ants that helps detect vibrations on the ground. It contains almost 8000 to 10,000 cells, depending on its length.

However, the stinger is present in the bottom region of their body which helps sting and bites when predators attack them.

This stinger contains almost 7000 to 10,000 units, as their number varies according to their type.

In addition to stinger and antennae, pinchers, gaster, poison glands, and many other organs act as defensive organs and ensure safety.

These also contain a few thousand cells arranged evenly throughout their length.


They have two compound eyes on the head that help see in the surroundings though not clearly, but give a vision to the closer objects.

In addition, their eyes contain a few million cells that contribute to the formation of eye structure.

It is one of the sensitive organs of insects that contains multiple cells and nerves that can help detect sensitivity.

Do ants have fewer cells than humans?

Ants and humans share a similarity of being social insects, and social animals mean they perform social activities in a group, but the type of activities differ according to their surroundings.

The number of basic units of cellular organization in ants is lesser than in humans because these are small creatures having less complex structures, while humans are larger and more complex organisms.

Moreover, humans are more functional than these insects and contain specialized organs for each activity, like they have larger limbs for movement.

Ants have only 10 to 20 million cells, but humans have trillions as each organ requires millions of units to build a fine structure.

Furthermore, they contain almost 37.2 trillion cells distributed all over the body, but this is not an even distribution as some organs have more units than others.

It is estimated that almost 38,000 to 40,000 colonies can make up a cell count equal to those found in a single human.

Additionally, the human heart has 30 million, while ants have only 38,000 to 40,000 cells.

In the same way, this number ranges between 0.5 to 1 million in the legs of these insects and almost 40 million in human legs.

What is the average size of an ant cell?

The ants are small creatures, and their cells are also small enough to be compared with those in humans. The size of an average cell is about 0.0001mm or 0.1µm, but it varies in different types.

However, a human cell is shorter than an ant size but bigger than the size of its single unit. The length of smaller insects is even shorter than the bigger carpenter ants, which are almost 10 to 20mm long.

However, the size of each unit in a body varies to a smaller extent according to the type of organ-like antennae has different size, while the basic units of the stomach have different sizes.

Do all ants have the same number of cells? 

The number of cells in ants varies depending on the species type, age, and gender. Almost 12,000 to 13,000 species of these insects have varying weights and sizes.

The carpenter ants have more cells than others, like Argentine ants, as they are almost 10 to 20mm long, while the latter is only 2 to 3mm long.

They vary in size when you consider different species pharaoh ants are the smallest, queens are larger in any colony, and Amazonian ants are the largest.

The smallest ants need a lesser number of cells as their bodies are small and require lesser tissues and organs to move, breathe, or perform many other functions.

In addition, the larvae, young, and adult ants have a different number of units depending on the complexity of the organs.

There is no proper differentiation of organs in larvae as they are still growing and multiplying, so they have fewer numbers compared to adult ones that are entirely differentiated.

Furthermore, gender also decides the number of basic units in a particular organism, like males, worker females, and queen ants have varying counts.

So, you can estimate the average number of basic units in these insects depending on their weight, as an insect of one gram weight contains almost one billion cells.

They are almost 2mg to 10mg in weight, and the total count ranges from almost 2 to 10 million cells.

However, some of these heavy-weight insects can also weigh almost 20mg to 22mg, which means these ants have around 20 million cells.

Related Articles:

Can Queen Ants Bite?

Why Are Fire Ants Called Fire Ants?