Giant Spiders Coming to a Town Near You


g. cruz

The Joro spider, an invasive species native to east Asia, is anticipated to spread after prospering in Georgia last year, according to experts at the University of Georgia. Trichonephila clavata is a spider notable for spinning highly ordered, wheel-shaped webs. Females have blue, yellow, and red markings on their bodies and can reach a length of 3in when fully stretched.

The Joro has twice the metabolism of a relative, the golden silk spider, which arrived in the US south-east 160 years ago from the tropics. The Joro has a 77 percent higher heart rate than the golden silk spider, which has been unable to scatter north limited in its ability to withstand cold temperatures. As a result, it can survive freezes that would kill its cousins. 

According to the latest study, Joro spiders, which are primarily found in Japan, will most likely thrive on the east coast of the United States because Japan has a similar climate and is around the same latitude as the United States.

The spiders made their way through the yards of northern Georgia last year, spinning 3m-deep webs.

It’s unknown how the spiders got from east Asia to the United States, but researchers believe it’s because of changes in weather. According to Davis, the Joro has little impact on local food webs or ecosystems, and it may even provide an additional food supply for native predators such as birds.

“The way I see it, there’s no purpose in undue harshness where it’s not needed,” Benjamin Frick, co-author of the study and an undergraduate researcher in the School of Ecology, said. People with saltwater weapons are shooting them out of trees and other such things, which is really needless.” 

“The potential for these spiders to spread through people’s motions is extremely high,” Frick says, adding, “the potential for these spiders to spread through people’s movements is very high… Anecdotally, we received a complaint from a UGA graduate student who had unintentionally carried one of them to Oklahoma just before we published this paper.” 

Although the possibilities of a Joro spider crawling inside a car or into luggage are high, specialists say there is no cause to be concerned.