Are you wary of the giant, parachuting Joro spiders? Here’s what you know.

You may have heard of some people who are not too soft venomous flying spiders can rise with the winds, butterflies love to eat and are already visible along the East Coast. They’re called Joro spiders – and their lifestyle is as interesting as their appearance.

Perhaps the most intriguing part? Despite their ability to parachute through the air and their large size, researchers have found that they are actually very shy—in fact, they may be among the “shyest spiders” ever documented,” according to a report published by the University of Georgia last year.

“We wanted to get to know the personality of these spiders and see if they are capable of being so aggressive,” co-author Andy Davis said of the report’s findings. “It turns out they are not.”

Here’s what to know about these spiders as experts say they’re making their way up from Georgia to New York and beyond.

A Japanese Joro spider, a type of orbweaver, Trichonefila clavata, feeds on a small twig in a forest near Yokohama, Japan.  / Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Japanese Joro spider, a type of orbweaver, Trichonefila clavata, feeds on a small twig in a forest near Yokohama, Japan. / Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What do Joro spiders eat?

​​​​​​Researchers from Clemson University previously discovered that Joros like to eat flying insects, but they are not overly attracted to the heads.

“These spiders don’t seem to care what gets in their web; they’re just as likely to eat brown marmorated stink bugs as they are to eat a Monarch butterfly,” researcher David Coyle said in a university press release , adding. that “they are spiders – and if something is caught in their web, it will be eaten.”

At the end of the day, the researchers say, they’re unlikely to bite people or pets, or, if you live in New York City, the giant rats that go in the trash cans. If and when the arachnids end up in the Big Apple, they are more likely to go on roaches or wasps.

Where do Joro spiders come from?

The yellow-and-gray Joros are an invasive species, meaning they are not native to the United States. According to the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, the spiders are native to East Asia and were first spotted in Georgia in 2014. It didn’t take long, however, for them to end up “everywhere,” said Coyle. .

Coyle first saw them in his backyard a few years ago, realizing that he could see one of the critters every two yards. Since they first met Georgia, they have greatly expanded their territory.

Spider Joro is seen building a web.  / Credit: / Getty ImagesSpider Joro is seen building a web.  / Credit: / Getty Images

Spider Joro is seen building a web. / Credit: / Getty Images

Where are Joro spiders in the United States?

Joros have been spotted across several states since they first landed in Georgia. According to records submitted to iNaturalist, the spiders have been spotted in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio.

“Data shows that this spider will be able to live in most of the eastern United States,” Coyle said in October. “It shows that their comfort zone in their native range matches up very well with much of North America. … We expect that the range of these things will continue to expand, probably northward, and we’ve seen it before own with several populations in Maryland.”

Are Joro spiders poisonous to humans?

Technically, yes – but also no. Joro spiders are venomous, but they are not known to be aggressive and are far more afraid of humans than humans, which is really saying a lot.

“They are harmless to humans and reluctant to bite,” says Penn State Extension. “And, if bites occur, the venom is weak and not medically important.”

If a bite does occur, the organization said it is not as painful as a bee sting, and any localized pain and redness should resolve quickly.

In a report published last year, researchers from the University of Georgia analyzed 450 spiders from 10 different species to study their responses to small disturbances. ​​​​​​They discovered that, while most spiders will freeze for less than a minute before resuming activity, Joro spiders basically “turn off” and do not move for more than an hour . The only other spider that exhibits similar behavior is Joro’s cousin, the golden silk spider.

“These spiders are more afraid of you than the other way around,” said researcher Andy Davis.

Even if they are so scared that they try to bite you, Davis’ team found that their fans probably aren’t big enough to bite through the skin.

Coyle said he has kept the spiders “on numerous occasions”, as have his children, and “there’s really no danger” to people or pets.

A Joro Spider / Credit: Dave Coyle/Clemson UniversityA Joro Spider / Credit: Dave Coyle/Clemson University

A Joro Spider / Credit: Dave Coyle/Clemson University

Should I kill Joro’s spiders?

Although the spiders may make you squeamish and look scary, the arachnids are very shy. It may not be necessary to kill her, Coyle said.

“Pesticides work, but also, they are probably overkill because it will kill everything else, and there is a cost involved,” he said, suggesting that the spiders should be physically moved if they have crawled side by side inside your house. “They seem to love structures. So, I tell people to take a stick or a broom and remove them.”

Davis found in his research that although the spiders are an invasive species, they still do not seem to have a major impact on local ecosystems. However, more research is needed in this regard.

“People should try to live with them,” he said. “If they are literally in your way, I can see putting a web down and moving them to the side, but they are going to be back next year.”

Even the Orkin pest control service says it’s enough to “move them out of houses or remove their webs.”

How big are Joro’s spiders?

According to Penn State Extension, adult female Joro spiders have bodies up to an inch long and a leg span of up to four inches. For reference, the average length of a human female arm is 6.8 inches – meaning that the leg spans of these spiders would take up most of an average female arm.

Adult male Joro spiders are “much smaller,” PennState Extension said, with a body length of just over a quarter of an inch. They are also much browner than females.

Even bigger than the spiders, however, are their webs. Coyle found several webs that spanned more than six feet. There are reports that the webs can be up to 10 feet wide.

Can Joro spiders fly?

They may not have wings, but they like to take to the skies so to speak. It’s not “flying,” per se, but the arachnids use a technique called “ballooning” in which they release their silk into the wind and let the currents carry them on an adventure.

According to Penn State Extension, spiders can move “tens to hundreds of miles” with this process, “so a storm blowing in the right direction at the right time of year could move them in great leaps. “

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