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The sentence:

There are said to be a billion billion insects on the earth at any moment, most of them with very short life expectancies by our standards.
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My book interprets the sentence as:

They say there are a billion billion insects on the earth at any moment. They also say most of them have with very short life expectancies by our standards.

Is this interpretation correct? I mean, is "most of them with very short life expectancies by our standards" also SAID by someone? IMO, it's just a scientific fact added to the main clause, not said by anyone.
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'There are said to be' is one way of stating that 'overall, unspecified research has detemined'-- this is the case for both the number of insects and their lifespans; so the book interpretation is correct.
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I understand. You explanation is always persuasive.

Thank you, MisterMicawber!

(Please be a permanent member of "the other" forums. You know what I mean. ^_^)
Wait a minute.

The reason why I thought "most of them..." was not "said" is that if both were "said",gramatically "there are said to be" would have to link both "a billion billion insects" AND "most of them...", and it could be paraphrased like "There are said to be a billion billion insects on the earth at any moment, and still there are said to be most of them with very short life expectancies by our standards", but to me the latter sounds strange.

What do you think?