“Giant,” invasive, “flying” venomous Joro spiders are crawling up the East Coast

Joro spiders were first detected in 2013 in the land that gave us Marjorie Taylor Green, Georgia, probably transported from Asia. And they’re spreading. . . .

NBC reports that “giant, venomous yellow spiders have been making their way up the East Coast, and people may begin to spot them in New Jersey, New York and even southern Canada as early as this year. The invasive Joro spider, native to East Asia, was first found in Georgia in 2013. The spiders remain mostly in the Southeast, but researchers predict they will head north because they are better suited for colder climates.”

For some reason, most press reports have been wildly exaggerated, calling these spiders venomous, flying and giant, when actually, while they may bite, their venom is not harmful to humans or pets; they do not fly but the babies can parachute, and they are not giant — just big with distinctive coloring. They are referred to as one of the shyest spiders — in experiments, when disturbed by a puff of air, the Joro spiders will freeze in place for up to an hour.

As far as their impact to the environment, it’s likely a mixed bag. Joros eat other invasive species, including brown marmorated stink bugs and spotted lanternflies. However, there’s also evidence they’re outcompeting native spider species. ( National Geographic )

CBS reports “Joro spiders were first spotted in Georgia in 2014, but experts believe they may have arrived as early as 2010. Since then, they’ve rapidly spread across the South, with observations reported across more than half a dozen states. Researchers believe they are bound for the Big Apple, and that “it is a matter of when, not if” these arachnids land in New York and New Jersey — but don’t worry, they’re super shy and will likely freeze up for more than an hour if you disturb them, giving ample time to get away from their four-inch leg span. “