There is no doubt that the joro spider is a nightmare to people afraid of spiders. The invasive creature is about the size of a palm and spins a huge dense web. But the joro spider results are in and studies show the creature is very docile.
According to Mashable, joro spider results are still “evolving” in that the species is new to the United States. No one has the final word on what their impact will be. They apparently. arrived around 2014. Probably on shipping containers from their East Asia home.
However, they have small fangs and weak venom, stay away from humans and do not inhabit houses. Mashable quoted a Georgia ecologist familiar with the spiders.
“It turns out they are really, really shy. They are remarkably shy,” Andy Davis, an ecologist at the University of Georgia and an author of the new research published(opens in a new tab) in the science journal arthropoda, “
Link in original. More about Andy Davis.
Arthropods include insects, arachnids (spider and scorpions) and crustaceans.
So far, the joros (Trichonephila clavata) are well established in Georgia and much of the southeast. They can survive cold weather so it is unclear how far they will spread. Much of the eastern seaboard is a common guess.
Scientists have a “docility” test for spiders. They blow air on them and watch how long they freeze in their webs. Many spiders freeze for less than five minutes. Joros froze for an hour.
What they eat and what eats them are still a little unclear. They may outcompete local spiders as they lay 1,000 eggs in a case. There is a wide range in numbers of eggs laid by spiders. But 1,000 is on the higher end. Birds and other potential predators may not have completely adjusted to the new diet item, researchers say.
Spiders have been in the wildlife news recently. Across the nation, brown widow spiders (Latrodectus geometricus) appear to be out competing and killing their black widow (Lactrodectus mactans) cousins.
In other spider news jumping spiders are apparently coming in vogue as pets. These spiders do not spin webs and pounce upon their prey. Because they have excellent eyesight (unlike most spiders) they can be entertaining companions. Although they do not build webs per se, they do use silk for other purposes.