Huge Invasive Spiders From Asia Set To Spread Along US East Coast | American News
People all across the East Coast of the United States may soon find themselves with a large species of spider that is far from its original home.
According to researchers at the University of Georgia, the Joro spider, an invasive species native to East Asia, is expected to spread after thriving in the state last year.
The spider, Trichonephila clavata, is known for its ability to weave highly organized wheel-like webs. Females have blue, yellow, and red markings and can measure up to 3 inches when fully extended.
Researchers have found that the Joro has twice the metabolism of a relative, the golden silk spider, which moved to the southeastern United States from the tropics 160 years ago. Unlike the golden silk spider, which couldn’t spread north due to its inability to withstand cold temperatures, the Joro has a 77% higher heart rate and can thus survive frosts that kill its cousins.
According to the new study, Joro spiders, which come mainly from Japan, will likely survive on the east coast of the United States, as Japan has a very similar climate and is at approximately the same latitude.
“Just looking at this, it looks like the Joros could probably survive on most of the east coast here, which is sobering,” said Andy Davis, a researcher at the Odum School of Ecology and co-author of the study.
Last year, spiders made their way through yards in northern Georgia, weaving webs up to 10 feet deep.
It’s unclear how the spiders traveled from East Asia, but researchers say their proliferation is likely due to changes in weather.
According to Davis, the Joro doesn’t appear to have much impact on local food webs or ecosystems and may even serve as a supplemental food source for native predators like birds.
“People should try to learn to live with them,” he said. “If they’re literally in your way, I may consider removing a canvas and moving them to the side, but they’ll only come back next year.”
Benjamin Frick, co-author of the study and an undergraduate researcher at the School of Ecology, said: “In my opinion, there is no point in excessive cruelty where it is not necessary. . You have people with salt water guns shooting them out of trees and things like that, and it’s really just pointless.
Frick thinks humans will help the spiders spread, saying, “The potential for these spiders to spread through people’s movements is very high… Anecdotally, just before publishing this study, we received a report from a UGA graduate student who had accidentally transported one of these to Oklahoma.
The chances of a Joro spider climbing into a car or into luggage are quite high, but the researchers point out that there is no reason to panic. Although spiders can bite, they pose no threat to humans because their fangs are often not large enough to pierce human skin.
“There’s really no reason to actively crush them,” Frick said. “Humans are behind their invasion. Don’t blame the spider Joro.