Scientists: Asian spider could spread to much of the East Coast


Researchers say a large spider native to East Asia that proliferated in Georgia last year could spread to much of the East Coast

ATLANTA — Researchers say a large spider native to East Asia that proliferated in Georgia last year could be spreading across much of the East Coast.

The Joro spider’s golden web invaded construction sites across northern Georgia in 2021, confusing some locals. The spider was also spotted in South Carolina and entomologists expected it to spread throughout the southeast.

A new study suggests it could spread even further than that. The Joro appears to be better adapted to colder temperatures than a related species, University of Georgia researchers said in a paper published last month.

It has about double the metabolism, a 77% higher heart rate and can survive a brief freeze that kills loved ones, according to the study.

The researchers also noted that the Joros are found across much of Japan, which has a climate similar to that of the United States.

“Just looking at this, it looks like the Joros could probably survive most of the east coast here, which is sobering,” study co-author Andy Davis said in a statement.

The Joro – Trichonephila clavata – is one of a group of spiders known as orb-weavers for their highly organized wheel-like webs. Joro females have yellow, blue and red colored markings on their bodies and can measure 8cm in diameter when their legs are fully extended.

It’s unclear exactly how and when the first Joro spider arrived in the United States or why it was so abundant in Georgia last year.

Their impact on native species and the environment is also unclear, although some researchers believe they are mild.

ABC News

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