Jorō spiders are coming for the East Coast


March 10, 2022

Photo: University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

A female Jorō spider is suspended in entomologist Will Hudson’s yard in Winterville, Ga. The invasive spider is harmless to humans, and researchers are examining its impact on local ecology. Photo: University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Large Jorō spiders are expected to begin showing up and down the East Coast as early as May, researchers say.

Last year, the spider, native to East Asia, appeared in Georgia. The Jorō spider (Trichonephila clavata), an Asian orb weaver species, has become more prevalent in northern Georgia and western South Carolina since its U.S. arrival approximately seven years ago.

Millions of the large spiders spun three-dimensional golden webs in dozens of counties, according to the University of Georgia.

Dr. Andy Davis, author of the study and a researcher at Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology, told Axios that “it isn’t certain how far north the spiders will travel, but they may make it as far north as D.C. or even Delaware.”

Researchers at the University of Georgia said in a paper published last month noted that Jorō spiders are usually found in Japan, which has a similar climate to the U.S. It is also determined that the spiders can tolerate cold weather.

It has about double the metabolism, a 77 percent higher heart rate and can survive a brief freeze that kills off its relatives, the study found.

The good news is the spiders are harmless to humans as their fangs are too small to break human skin.

The Jorō spider is bright yellow, black, blue and red. They can grow up to about three inches, or the size of a child’s hand.

The spiders most likely traveled across the globe in shipping containers. Their life cycles begin in early spring but grow to their largest in June and can be seen in July and August.

Jorō spiders are named for Jorōgumo, a creature of Japanese folklore that can shapeshift into a woman or spider before killing its prey.

According to Axios, researchers said there is nothing to do to stop the spiders from coming but that they are harmless.

About the Author

Ellen Wagner is a former digital editor for PMP magazine.

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