While grocery shopping I was thinking that we restrict ourselves in regard to which animals we eat. I surely don't want to eat spiders and ants, for example, but I know that this is just because of my upbringing. But a lot of plants are actually inedible. So, is my idea correct that we can eat far more animal species than plant species? And if so, why? The reasons why certain plants are inedible seem to me also as rather diverse, like most plants developed their own special molecule(s) to avoid being eaten by us. :) I would be interested in some more educated opinion on this thought than mine. Thx in advance.


1 Answer 1


It is estimated by some that on earth there are

  • 7.77 million species (of which 953,434 have been described and cataloged) of animals
  • 298,000 species (of which 215,644 have been described and cataloged) of plants
  • 611,000 species (of which 43,271 have been described and cataloged) of fungi
  • 36,400 species (of which 8,118 have been described and cataloged) of protozoa.

with 6.5 million species found on land and 2.2 million (about 25 percent of the total) dwelling in the ocean depths.[1][2]

Despite the existence of toxic plants and animals, from the numbers alone it is clear that there are more animal species we can eat than plant species.

This does not take into account population or individual sizes, just species.

[1] How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?
[2] How many species on Earth? About 8.7 million, new estimate says


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .