They're Big! They're Spreading! Should We Be Afraid of Joro Spiders? Experts Weigh In

What is this monster-sized spider?
Joro spiders might seem scary, especially for spider phobes. These very large spiders (also known in science as Trichonephila clavata) can reach up to three inches or even the size of a palm. Their legs and abdomen have bright yellow and black stripes. There is red on their bellies, and they weave huge golden webs the color of golden silk.
In other words, the Joro Spider seems to be from another world - the stuff of science fiction. And those eight-legged creatures are spreading!
ADVERTISEMENT
See Also: The 15 Largest Spiders In The World
In February, Physiological Entomology published a study that said these arachnids, found primarily in southeastern states, were on the move. Experts report that because they can survive in colder climates, they may be stretching their proverbial legs and inhabiting more of the Southeast.
But no fear! These spiders are considered harmless. Don't let these headlines fool you. "Spiders are harmless to humans except in very rare cases, and most of what you hear about them in the news is wrong or untrue," says Dr. Shahan Derkarabetian, a biologist who researches the diversity and evolution of arachnids at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. "The vast majority of articles you see about this spider exaggerate and scare, with a bias toward click-bait titles."
Here's what we know about Joro spiders.
ADVERTISEMENT
What are Joro Spiders?
The Joro spider (also known as Trichonephila clavata) has roots in East Asia and is considered a tropical orb-weaver spider, meaning it is found in tropical areas. "The Joro spider is a 'cousin' of our golden silkworm (or banana spider), Trichonephila clavipes, which is distributed in the southeastern United States," says Professor Anne Danielson-Francois, PhD, of the University of Michigan, Dearborn. who specializes in the behavioral ecology of spiders.
What does the name "Joro" mean in the Joro Spider?
"The name Joro comes from Jorōgumo, a yōkai, or mythical creature in Japanese folklore," says University of Cincinnati biologist Nathan Morehouse, who is director of UC's Institute for Research in Sensing. "Jorōgumo are shape-shifting spiders that can transform into beautiful women to seduce and eat young men. The name in modern kanji literally means "confounding bride".
Related: How do spiders survive in basements?
What Makes Joro Spiders So Scary?
The Joro spider is big, very big. "Including its legs, the spider is about 3 to 4 inches long, about the same size as our native argiope (or black and yellow garden spider). And Trichonephila (known as the golden silk spider or banana spider)," explains Danielson-Francois. She adds that despite their dramatic appearance, they are not dangerous and are even helpful to us. "There's nothing to fear from these spiders," she says. "They are gentle and are used for free pest control."
What do Joro spiders do?
"Joro spiders are gentle animals that are mostly concerned with catching insects in their webs or finding mates," says Dr. Morehouse. "But they're big, much bigger than the spiders we're used to seeing here in the United States. For those who have arachnophobia, these spiders are terrifyingly large.”
As Morehouse explains, these spiders also weave large webs. "Their webs can also be quite large, strung between branches or across pathways, and the silk strands must be strong enough for this larger size of web. So getting tangled up in one of these webs can come as an unpleasant surprise,” says Dr. Morehouse "The good news is that these spiders aren't interested in indoor environments, and the strands of their webs are golden, making them easier to see. The spiders themselves aren't aggressive either. However, if handled incorrectly, the spiders can bite out in self-defense, and the Bites are painful like a bee or wasp sting, so if they startle you, it's best to just give them plenty of room.”
Is there a difference between female and male Joro spiders?
"Females are larger than males, a common trend in spiders, with body sizes of up to 1 inch and leg spans of 3-4 inches," says Dr. Morehouse. "Males are smaller, about 1/3 the height, and have a leg span of 1 to 1.5 inches."
Where do Joro spiders come from?
The Joro spider or Trichonephila clavata is a species native to East Asia including Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan. according to dr Morehouse, these spiders were first spotted here in Georgia in 2013. They have also been sighted in western South Carolina. "It's likely that they will slowly expand their range in the warm southern states in the coming years," says Dr. Morehouse.
Where are Joro Spiders?
In the United States, they were spotted in the Southeast. "This is not a surprise as the native species Trichonephila (known as the golden silk spider or banana spider) also occurs there and they have similar habitat requirements," explains Professor Anne Danielson-Francois.
Is it true that spiders like the Joro spider are helpful to the planet?
Yes! These spiders are helpful to humans. "Web-forming spiders like the yo-yo spider catch many insects, including mosquitoes and other flies that can be considered pests," explains Dr. Shahan Derkarabetian. "In a way, having spiders around does people a favor. However, invasive or introduced species like the Joro spider can have adverse effects on native spider species, e.g. B. by crowding them out for food.”
How to get rid of Joro spiders?
Don't call your pest controller! Concentrate on living with these harmless creatures. "They provide free pest control by eating large flying insects like praying mantises, brown marbled stink bugs and others," advises Professor Anne Danielson-Francois. "The golden silk of their web is exquisite, and silk from members of the genus was used to make tapestries." Look at that!
If you really want them to leave your country, Dr. Morehouse suggests that you capture the spider in a mason jar and transport it off your property. "Using pesticides risks killing other beneficial insects or spiders on your property, and more creative control methods like using torches or other flaming implements literally backfire every year," says Dr. Morehouse. "But my best advice is to adopt an inquisitive attitude towards these newcomers, who live fascinating and surprisingly beautiful lives while eating many insects day and night."
Next, how do spiders build webs?

Last News

J-Lo Surprised Ben With an ‘Elaborate’ Birthday Party Days Before Their 2nd Wedding—Here’s Who Attended

J-Lo Surprised Ben With an ‘Elaborate’ Birthday Party Days Before Their 2nd Wedding—Here’s Who Attended

Malcom Brown released by Jacksonville Jaguars in surprise move following career year

NASCAR's Daniel Suarez Issues A Strong Warning To New Teammate Kimi Räikkönen

Former NFL player and 'AGT' finalist fumbles magic trick during live show

Former NFL player and 'AGT' finalist fumbles magic trick during live show