List of animals by number of neurons

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Brief comparisons of number of whole brain neurons (top) and cerebral cortex neurons (bottom) among five mammals.

This is a list of representative animals by the number of neurons in their whole nervous system and the number of neurons in their brain (for those with a brain). These numbers are estimates derived by multiplying the density of neurons in a particular animal by the average volume of the animal's brain.

The whole human brain contains 86 billion neurons and roughly 16 billion neurons in the cerebral cortex.[1][2]

Overview[edit]

Neurons are the cells that transmit information in an animal's nervous system so that it can sense stimuli from its environment and behave accordingly. Not all animals have neurons; Trichoplax and sponges lack nerve cells altogether.

Neurons may be packed to form structures such as the brain of vertebrates or the neural ganglions of insects.

The number of neurons and their relative abundance in different parts of the brain is a determinant of neural function and, consequently, of behavior.

Whole nervous system[edit]

All numbers for neurons (except Caenorhabditis and Ciona), and all numbers for synapses (except Ciona) are estimations.

Name Neurons in the brain/whole nervous system Synapses Details Image Source
Sponge 0
Sponge.JPG
[3]
Trichoplax 0
Trichoplax mic.jpg
[4]
Ciona intestinalis larva (sea squirt) 231 8617 (central nervous system only)
Cionaintestinalis.jpg
[5]

[6]

Asplanchna brightwellii (rotifer) about 200 Brain only [7]
Caenorhabditis elegans (roundworm) 302 ~7,500
Adult Caenorhabditis elegans.jpg
[8]
Jellyfish 5,600 Hydra vulgaris (H. attenuate)
Jelly cc11.jpg
[9]
Megaphragma mymaripenne 7,400 [10]
Box jellyfish 8,700–17,500 adult Tripedalia cystophora (8 mm diameter) – does not include 1000 neurons in each of the four rhopalia
Tripedalia-cystophora.png
[11]
Medicinal leech 10,000
Svømmende blodigle.JPG
[12]
Pond snail 11,000
[13]
Sea slug 18,000
Aplysia californica.jpg
[14]
Amphioxus 20,000 central nervous system only
Branchiostoma lanceolatum.jpg
[15]

[16]

Fruit fly 250,000 < 1×10^7
Drosophila melanogaster - side (aka).jpg
[17]

[18]

Larval zebrafish 100,000
Zebrafish embryos.png
[19]
Lobster 100,000
Lobster 04.jpg
[20]
Ant 250,000 Varies per species
Ant head closeup.jpg
[21]

[22]

Honey bee 960,000 ~1×10^9
Bees Collecting Pollen 2004-08-14.jpg
[23]
Cockroach 1,000,000
Cockroachcloseup.jpg
[24]
Adult zebrafish ~10,000,000 cells (neurons + other)
Zebrafisch.jpg
[25]
Frog 16,000,000
Australia green tree frog (Litoria caerulea) crop.jpg
[26]
Naked mole-rat 26,880,000
Naked Mole rat baby.jpg
[27]
Smoky shrew 36,000,000 [28]
Short-tailed shrew 52,000,000 Blarina carolinensisPCSL20933B.jpg [28]
Hottentot golden mole 65,000,000 [29]
House mouse 71,000,000 ~1×10^12
House mouse.jpg
[30]
Nile crocodile 80,500,000
Nile Crocodile (17038929167).jpg
[31]
Golden hamster 90,000,000 [30]
Ansell's mole-rat 103,000,000 [32]
Mashona mole-rat 113,000,000 [32]
Hairy-tailed mole 124,000,000 [29]
Eastern rock elephant shrew 129,000,000 [29]
Star-nosed mole 131,000,000
Condylura.jpg
[28]
Zebra finch 131,000,000 Brain only Taeniopygia guttata -Karratha, Pilbara, Western Australia, Australia -male-8 (2).jpg [33]
Silvery mole-rat 148,000,000 [32]
Four-toed elephant shrew 157,000,000 [29]
Eurasian blackcap 157,000,000
Sylvia atricapilla -Lullington Heath, East Sussex, England -male-8.jpg
[33]
Goldcrest 164,000,000
Goldcrest (10649615636).jpg
[33]
Cape mole-rat 170,000,000 [32]
Mechow's mole-rat 174,000,000 [32]
Damaraland mole-rat 178,000,000 [32]
Brown rat 200,000,000 ~4.48×10^11
Rattus norvegicus 1.jpg
[34]
Guyenne spiny rat 202,000,000 [29]
Eastern mole 204,000,000
ScalopusAquaticus.jpg
[28]
Red junglefowl 221,000,000
Red Junglefowl - Thailand.jpg
[33]
Great tit 226,000,000
Great tit side-on.jpg
[33]
Green-rumped parrotlet 227,000,000
Forpus passerinus -Venezuela-8.jpg
[33]
Guinea pig 240,000,000
Two adult Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus).jpg
[30]
Gray mouse lemur 254,710,000
Gray Mouse Lemur 1.JPG
[35]
Common treeshrew 261,000,000 [36]
Pigeon 310,000,000 Brain only
Paloma bravía (Columba livia), Palacio de Nymphenburg, Múnich, Alemania01.JPG
[33]
Budgerigar 322,000,000
Yellow budgerigar.jpg
[33]
Cape dune mole-rat 361,000,000 [32]
Common blackbird 379,000,000
Common Blackbird.jpg
[33]
Ferret 404,000,000
Black footed ferret whole.jpg
[37]
Cockatiel 453,000,000
Cockatiel Sleeping.jpg
[33]
Banded mongoose 454,000,000
Banded Mongoose.jpg
[37]
Gray squirrel 453,660,000
Grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) 02.jpg
[27]
Prairie dog 473,940,000
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog.jpg
[27]
Common starling 483,000,000
Common Starling in Wormwood Scrubs Park in spring 2013.JPG
[33]
European rabbit 494,200,000
Oryctolagus cuniculus Tasmania 2.jpg
[27]
Octopus 500,000,000
Octopus2.jpg
[38]
Western tree hyrax 505,000,000 [29]
Common marmoset 636,000,000 [36]
Eastern rosella 642,000,000
Eastern Rosella at Hobart Domain upright.jpg
[33]
Barn owl 690,000,000
Barn Owl (9652234894).jpg
[33]
Monk parakeet 697,000,000
Monk Parakeet (4303100054).jpg
[33]
Azure-winged magpie 741,000,000
Azure-winged Magpie RWD2.jpg
[33]
Rock hyrax 756,000,000 [29]
Cat 760,000,000 ~1×10^13
Cat mouth closed.jpg
[39]
Black-rumped agouti 857,000,000
Dasyprocta punctata (Mexico).jpg
[30]
Magpie 897,000,000
Magpie.arp.750pix.jpg
[33]
Common hill myna 906,000,000
Common Hill Myna - Gracula religiosa - Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center 02.jpg
[33]
Northern greater galago 936,000,000 [36]
Western jackdaw 968,000,000
Jackdaw arp 750pix.jpg
[33]
Eurasian jay 1,085,000,000
Eurasian Jay on balcony.jpg
[33]
Alexandrine parakeet 1,096,000,000
Alexandrine Parakeet at Lochmara Lodge.jpg
[33]
Tanimbar corella 1,161,000,000
A Goffin's Cockatoo on a perch.jpg
[33]
Emu 1,335,000,000
Emu chick 1.jpg
[33]
Three-striped night monkey 1,468,000,000 [36]
Rook 1,509,000,000
Rook Corvus frugilegus.jpg
[33]
Grey parrot 1,566,000,000
Congo African Grey Parrot -head detail.jpg
[33]
Capybara 1,600,000,000
Capybara male.jpg
[30]
Sulphur-crested cockatoo 2,122,000,000
Cacatua galerita portrait.jpg
[33]
Raccoon 2,148,000,000
Racoon (3813039203).jpg
[37]
Kea 2,149,000,000
Kea on car.jpg
[33]
Raven 2,171,000,000 Brain only
Raven (Corvus corax) (8).jpg
[33]
Domestic pig 2,220,000,000
Sow and five piglets.jpg
[40]
Dog 2,253,000,000
Domestic Dog.jpg
[37]
Springbok 2,720,000,000
Springbok.JPG
[40]
Blesbok 3,060,000,000
Blesbok - Damaliscus pygargus albifrons.jpg
[40]
Blue-and-yellow macaw 3,136,000,000 Brain only
Ara ararauna Luc Viatour.jpg
[33]
Common squirrel monkey 3,246,000,000
Common.squirrel.monkey.arp.jpg
[36]
Crab-eating macaque 3,440,000,000
Crab eating macaque face.jpg
[35]
Tufted capuchin 3,691,000,000 [36]
Bonnet macaque 3,780,000,000
Bonnet Macaque Kodaikanal.jpg
[35]
Striped hyena 3,885,000,000
Striped Hyena 5.jpg
[37]
Lion 4,667,000,000
Lion waiting in Namibia.jpg
[37]
Greater kudu 4,910,000,000
Male greater kudu.jpg
[40]
Rhesus macaque 6,376,000,000
Macaca mulatta in Guiyang.jpg
[36]
Brown bear 9,586,000,000
Kamchatka Brown Bear near Dvuhyurtochnoe on 2015-07-23.jpg
[37]
Giraffe 10,750,000,000
Giraffe.jpg
[40]
Yellow baboon 10,950,000,000
Yellow Baboon - Mikumi National Park.jpg
[35]
Chimpanzee 28,000,000,000
Lightmatter chimp.jpg
[41]
Orangutan 32,600,000,000
Orang Utan, Semenggok Forest Reserve, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia.JPG
[42]
Gorilla 33,400,000,000
Male gorilla in SF zoo.jpg
[42]
Human 86,000,000,000 ~1.5×10^14 Synapses for average adult
Akha cropped hires.JPG
[43][44][45]
African elephant 257,000,000,000
African Bush Elephant.jpg
[46][47]

Cerebral cortex[edit]

Non-mammals are included in this list because, although only mammals have a cerebral cortex, the pallium of reptiles and birds is functionally similar to the mammalian cortex and is therefore also frequently referred to as "cortex".

Name Neurons in the cerebral cortex Details Image Source
Naked mole-rat 6,150,000 H. glaber
Naked Mole rat baby.jpg
[27]
Ansell's mole-rat 10,000,000 Fukomys anselli [32]
Smoky shrew 10,000,000 Sorex fumeus
SmokyShrew23.jpg
[29]
Mashona mole-rat 12,000,000 Fukomys darlingi [32]
Northern short-tailed shrew 12,000,000 Blarina brevicauda
Blarina brevicauda.jpg
[29]
House mouse 14,000,000 Mus musculus
Mouse.jpg
[29]
Hairy-tailed mole 16,000,000 Parascalops breweri
The quadrupeds of North America (Plate LXXIV) (7748318398).jpg
[29]
Star-nosed mole 17,000,000 Condylura cristata
Condylura.jpg
[29]
Golden hamster 17,000,000 Mesocricetus auratus
Peach the pet hamster.jpg
[29]
Damaraland mole-rat 21,000,000 Fukomys damarensis [32]
Hottentot golden mole 22,000,000 Amblysomus hottentotus [29]
Gray mouse lemur 22,310,000 Microcebus murinus
Gray Mouse Lemur 1 edit.JPG
[35]
Mechow's mole-rat 23,000,000 Fukomys mechowii [32]
Hedgehog 24,000,000 Subfamily Erinaceinae, unknown genus and species
Igel01.jpg
[48]
Silvery mole-rat 25,000,000 heliophobius argenteocinereus [32]
Cape mole-rat 26,000,000 Georychus capensis [32]
Guyenne spiny rat 26,000,000 Proechimys cayennensis [29]
Eastern rock elephant shrew 26,000,000 Elephantulus myurus [29]
Eeastern mole 27,000,000 Scalopus aquaticus [29]
Opossum 27,000,000 Didelphis virginiana
Opossum 2.jpg
[48]
Brown Rat 31,000,000 Rattus norvegicus
Rat diabetic.jpg
[29]
Four-toed elephant shrew 34,000,000 Petrodromus tetradactylus
Petrodromus tetradactylus tordayi - Royal Museum for Central Africa - DSC06793.JPG
[29]
Ferret 39,000,000 Mustela putorius furo
Black footed ferret cropped.jpg
[37]
Cape dune mole-rat 43,000,000 Bathyergus suillus [32]
Guinea pig 43,510,000 Cavia porcellus
Cavia porcellus.jpg
[27]
Eurasian blackcap 52,000,000 Sylvia atricapilla
Sylvia atricapilla -Lullington Heath, East Sussex, England -male-8.jpg
[33]
Prairie dog 53,770,000 Cynomys sp.
Prairie Dog Washington Zoo.JPG
[27]
Zebra finch 55,000,000 Taeniopygia guttata
Taeniopygia guttata - profile - dundee wildlife park.jpg
[33]
Common treeshrew 60,000,000 Tupaia glis
Stavenn Tupaia glis 00.jpg
[29]
Red junglefowl 61,000,000 Gallus gallus
Gallus gallus.jpg
[33]
Goldcrest 64,000,000 Regulus regulus
Goldcrest 1.jpg
[33]
European rabbit 71,450,000 O. cuniculus
Oryctolagus cuniculus Tasmania 2.jpg
[27]
Rock dove 72,000,000 Columba livia
Rock Pigeon Columba livia.jpg
[33]
Eastern gray squirrel 77,330,000 S. carolinensis
Eastern Grey Squirrel in St James's Park, London - Nov 2006 edit.jpg
[27]
Great tit 83,000,000 Parus major
Great tit side-on.jpg
[33]
Western tree hyrax 99,000,000 Dendrohyrax dorsalis
Beecroft'sTreeHyrax.JPG
[29]
Green-rumped parrotlet 103,000,000 Forpus passerinus
Forpus passerinus-Venezuela-8a.jpg
[33]
Black-rumped agouti 113,000,000 Dasyprocta prymnolopha
Dasyprocta punctata (Mexico).jpg
[2]
Banded mongoose 116,000,000 Mungos mungo
Mungos mungo qtl1.jpg
[37]
Common blackbird 136,000,000 Turdus merula
Common Blackbird.jpg
[33]
Budgerigar 149,000,000 Melopsittacus undulatus
Budgie001.jpg
[33]
Rock hyrax 198,000,000 Procavia capensis
Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis) (7042223567).jpg
[29]
Northern greater galago 226,000,000 Otolemur garnettii
Garnett's Galago (Greater Bushbaby).jpg
[29]
Common starling 226,000,000 Sturnus vulgaris
Sturnus vulgaris -California-8.jpg
[33]
Common marmoset 245,000,000 Callithrix jacchus
Marmoset copy.jpg
[29]
Cat 250,000,000 Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus
Cat mouth closed.jpg
[37]
Brown bear 251,000,000 Ursus arctos
Brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos) running.jpg
[37]
Cockatiel 258,000,000 Nymphicus hollandicus
Nymphicus hollandicus -perching on wires -Australia-6a.jpg
[33]
Capybara 306,500,000 Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
Capybaras in riga zoo.jpg
[27]
Tarsius 310,000,000 Genus Tarsius, unknown species
Tarsius tarsier Tandurusa zoo.JPG
[49]
Eastern rosella 333,000,000 Platycercus eximius
Platycercus eximius diemenensis.jpg
[33]
Goeldi's marmoset 357,130,000 Callimico goeldii
MP-Callimico goeldii.jpg
[35]
Monk parakeet 396,000,000 Myiopsitta monachus
Myiopsitta monachus monachus 3.JPG
[33]
Springbok 396,900,000 Antidorcas marsupialis
Springbok.JPG
[40]
Azure-winged magpie 400,000,000 Cyanopica cyanus
Cyanopica cyanus Yokohama 6.jpg
[33]
Common hill myna 410,000,000 Gracula religiosa
Gracula religiosa robusta-01.JPG
[33]
Domesticated pig 425,000,000 Sus scrofa
Sow with piglet.jpg
[50]
Barn owl 437,000,000 Tyto alba
Tyto alba 1 Luc Viatour.jpg
[33]
Emu 439,000,000 Dromaius novaehollandiae
Dromaius novaehollandiae - 02.jpg
[33]
Three-striped night monkey 442,000,000 Aotus trivirgatus
Stavenn Aotus trivirgatus 00.jpg
[2]
Eurasian magpie 443,000,000 Pica pica
Pica pica - 01.jpg
[33]
Raccoon 453,000,000 Procyon lotor
Raccoon (4152678243).jpg
[51]
Western jackdaw 492,000,000 Coloeus monedula
CROP. Corvus monedula, naakka, Naantalin hautausmaa, Naantali, 8.11.2011..jpg
[33]
Striped hyena 495,000,000 Hyaena hyaena
Streifenhyaene Hyaena hyaena Zoo Augsburg-09.jpg
[37]
Eurasian jay 529,000,000 Garrulus glandarius
Garrulus glandarius 1 Luc Viatour.jpg
[33]
Dog 530,000,000 Canis lupus familiaris
YellowLabradorLooking new.jpg
[37]
Lion 545,000,000 Panthera leo
Lions Family Portrait Masai Mara.jpg
[37]
Blesbok 570,670,000 Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi
Blesbok at NC zoo.jpg
[40]
Alexandrine parakeet 575,000,000 Psittacula eupatria
Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria), Jurong Bird Park, Singapore - 20090613.jpg
[33]
Tanimbar corella 599,000,000 Cacatua goffiniana
Cacatua goffiniana -captive-8a-3c.jpg
[33]
Gracile capuchin monkey 650,000,000 Genus Cebus, unknown species
Capuchin Costa Rica.jpg
[52]
Greater kudu 762,570,000 Tragelaphus strepsiceros
Male greater kudu.jpg
[40]
Crab-eating macaque 800,960,000 Macaca fascicularis
Macaca-fascicularis flk18447014.jpg
[35]
Rook 820,000,000 Corvus frugilegus
Corvus Frugilegus Berlin-2.jpg
[33]
Grey parrot 850,000,000 Psittacus erithacus
Psittacus erithacus qtl1.jpg
[33]
Tufted capuchin 1,100,000,000 Sapajus apella
Sapajus apella apella (French Guyana) 4.jpg
[2]
Sulphur-crested cockatoo 1,135,000,000 Cacatua galerita
Cacatua galerita portrait.jpg
[33]
Horse 1,200,000,000 Equus ferus caballus
Nokota Horses cropped.jpg
[28]
Raven 1,200,000,000 Corvus corax
Corvus corax jouveniles.jpeg
[33]
Kea 1,281,000,000 Nestor notabilis
Kea.jpg
[33]
Common squirrel monkey 1,340,000,000 Saimiri sciureus
Saimiri sciureus-1 Luc Viatour.jpg
[29]
Bonnet macaque 1,660,000,000 Macaca radiata
Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata Threat display by Dr. Raju Kasambe DSCN5340 (5).jpg
[35]
Rhesus macaque 1,710,000,000 Macaca mulatta
Macaca mulatta in Guiyang.jpg
[29]
Giraffe 1,730,000,000 Giraffa camelopardalis
Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis.jpg
[40]
Blue and yellow macaw 1,900,000,000 Ara ararauna
Schläfrige Gelbbrustaras (sleepy Blue-and-yellow Macaws) Weltvogelpark Walsrode 2010.jpg
[33]
Guenon 2,500,000,000 Genus Cercopithecus, unknown species
FranceNormandieChamprepusCercopithecusDiana.jpg
[49]
Yellow baboon 2,880,000,000 Papio cynocephalus
Papio cynocephalus.jpg
[35]
African elephant 5,600,000,000 Loxodonta africana
Elephant in Botswana.JPG
[46]
Harp seal 6,100,000,000 Pagophilus groenlandicus
Harp seal.jpg
[53]
Chimpanzee 6,200,000,000 Pan troglodytes
Lightmatter chimp.jpg
[13]
Orangutan 8,900,000,000 Genus Pongo, unknown species
Orang Utan, Semenggok Forest Reserve, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia.JPG
[42]
Gorilla 9,100,000,000 Genus Gorilla, unknown species
Male gorilla in SF zoo.jpg
[42]
False killer whale 10,500,000,000 Pseudorca crassidens
False killer whale 890002.jpg
[28]
Common minke whale 12,800,000,000 Balaenoptera acutorostrata
Balaenoptera acutorostrata Saint-Laurent 06.jpg
[54]
Harbor porpoise 14,900,000,000 Phocoena phocoena
Harbor.Porpoise.4.jpg
[53]
Fin whale 15,000,000,000 Balaenoptera physalus
LMazzuca Fin Whale.jpg
[55]
Human 16,000,000,000 Homo sapiens: (For average adult)
"The human cerebral cortex, with an average 1233 g and 16 billion neurons, is slightly below expectations for a primate brain of 1.5 kg, while the human cerebellum, at 154 g and 69 billion neurons, matches or even slightly exceeds the expected"
Akha cropped hires.JPG
[43][2][56]
Long-finned pilot whale 37,200,000,000 Globicephala melas: "For the first time, we show that a species of dolphin has more neocortical neurons than any mammal studied to date including humans."
Pilot whale spyhop.jpg
[57]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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