- Oct 27, 2017
First spotted in the United States in Georgia in 2013, the Joro spider has taken over the southeast, and a new study says they could soon go up north.
If you haven't met the colorful, massive Joro spider yet, you may soon be introduced to the invasive species if you live on the East Coast, scientists predict.
The predominately yellow spider, which can get as big as the palm of your hand, was first spotted in Georgia in 2013. Originating from Asia, there is no clear answer for how it made it into the United States other than it likely came in a shipping container. But in nearly 10 years, the species has rapidly spread across Georgia and other parts of the Southeast.
Now, scientists from the University of Georgia say in a study published in the journal Physiological Entomology the Joro spider could take over much of the East Coast in the coming years.
“People should try to learn to live with them," Andy Davis, research scientist at Georgia's Odum School of Ecology and co-author of the study, said in a statement. "If they’re literally in your way, I can see taking a web down and moving them to the side, but they’re just going to be back next year."
Scientists came to their conclusion by comparing the Joro spider to its relative, the golden silk spider. Known as the "banana spider," the golden silk spider hails from the tropical regions of Central and South America, but made its way into the southeast U.S. around 150 years ago and similarly took over the region, making it the "perfect experiment" to use for comparison.
But as much as the golden silk spider population has grown, it has yet to expand into the North because the spider is susceptible to the cold. The scientists collected the two species and measured numerous physical traits as well as how they adapted to different environmental conditions, including brief periods of temperatures below freezing.