Invasive Joro spiders continue to spread in Georgia

Representational imageNick Fewings

Native to China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, Joro spiders are part of a group of spiders known as "orb weavers" because of their circular webs. These spiders span nearly three inches long when their legs are fully extended. The Joro spider first arrived stateside around 2013 and has since spread across the state, particularly in Northern Georgia.

The spiders likely arrived in Georgia by hitching a ride in a shipping container from China or Japan. Researchers are still not sure whether the spider will have a negative impact on native animals and plants, as other invasive species do. During the past few years, millions of colorful Joro spiders have suspended themselves in golden webs on porches, power lines, and mailboxes in Northern Georgia.

Ecologist Byron “Bud” Freeman, director of the Georgia Museum of Natural History said:

Some people really like them. They say these are gorgeous spiders and they’re enjoying watching them. It’s a divide, like politics. Some people like them and some people don’t. It’s totally not based on anything because I don’t have good comparative data, but what if these things are telling us something? It seems that they’re skinnier this year and you can change the size of a spider by feeding it a lot.

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