Large spider found in the south may spread across the east coast this year

Depending on where you live, it may only be a matter of time before you start seeing black and yellow spiders the size of your palm. If you live along the east coast, you may start seeing the spiders sooner rather than later.

Jorō spiders, which can grow up to 4 inch inch length, are common in Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan. By the way, the name Jorō is an abbreviation for Jorōgumo. In Japanese folklore, a Jorōgumo is a spider demon who is said to be able to transform himself into a beautiful woman to seduce men, entangle them in cobwebs and devour them, according to Live Science.

It is believed that the spiders traveled from Asia to the southeastern US in shipping containers about 10 years ago.

New research recently published in Physiological Entomology notes that Jorō spiders have a metabolism that works twice as fast and has a 77 percent faster heart rate than a closely related same-sex spider already established in the US. They can also survive brief freezing temperatures that kill other spiders. Finally, the researchers from the University of Georgia at Athens (UGA) note that Jorō spiders are found in much of Japan, which has a climate similar to that of the US.

“Just looking at that, it looks like the Jorōs can probably survive most of the East Coast here, which is pretty sobering,” study co-author Andy Davis said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

A growing population

Jorō spinning, scientific Trichonephila clavata, are part of a genus of spiders known as “golden orb weavers.” This genus produces large, well-organized, wheel-shaped webs, which explains the name.

Very large numbers of spiders were found in much of northern Georgia last year, according to the Associated Press, for reasons researchers and entomologists don’t understand.

The spiders are venomous, but since their fangs are too short to pierce human skin, the real problem with Jorō spiders is their intricate, and enormouswebs.

Will Hudson, an entomologist at the University of Georgia, explained that he couldn’t actually use his porch last summer because it was overtaken by Jorō webs about 10 feet (3 meters) deep.

“The webs are a real mess,” Hudson said, according to the Associated Press. “Nobody wants to get out the door in the morning, go down the stairs and get a face full of cobwebs.”

En route?

Jorō spider boy practice what is known as ‘ballooning’. Essentially, they produce long, thin silk threads. Then, when the threads are blown by the wind, the spiders can travel a mile or two – just like a balloon blown by the wind.

But that’s not how the researchers assume Jorō spiders travel up the east coast or head west.

Instead, Benjamin Frick, an ecology student at UGA and co-author of the Jorō spider study published in Physiological Entomology, explains that the spiders can simply take a ride in a car, truck, or shipping container. Indeed, Frick said just before the study was published, the researchers received a report from a UGA graduate student who said they accidentally transported one of the Jorō spiders to Oklahoma, according to CNN.

“The reality of the situation, however, is that for every spider we may see being transported, there are probably 10 more that evade detection,” Frick said.

A lack of consensus

While the study’s researchers claim that Jorō spiders can successfully make their way north and west, not all entomologists are convinced.

“While it can withstand somewhat colder climates, I doubt it can withstand the climatic conditions of the northern and western U.S.,” said Paula Cushing, senior curator of invertebrate zoology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, according to CNN. .

Anne Danielson-Francois, an associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, added, “In my opinion, I don’t think they would be found further north than North Carolina or west,” according to CNN.

Ultimately, whether Jorō spiders actually start traveling to other states, thriving or not, it seems that people living in the southeastern US will just have to get used to the spiders — and their three-dimensional webs that also line hiking or biking trails. can span like porches. Unfortunately, that also means that sometimes you get a face full of cobwebs.

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