Watch out for the Joro spiders

A Joro spider 
compared to a person’s hand

Photo Credit: UGA today

A Joro spider compared to a person’s hand

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 of men report being afraid of spiders. In fact, 15% of the population has been diagnosed with arachnophobia; these people should take extra precautions to avoid running into the newly arrived, palm sized creatures known as Joro spiders. The average leg span of these movie-like arachnids is 6-8 inches, which is the average size of an adult male’s palm. 

The Joro spider’s bite does contain venom in very small amounts, which only affects small insects- it’s fangs are composed in such a way that they wouldn’t be able to break human skin if they were to even try and bite you, according to University of Georgia’s Benjamin Frick. The joro has not been deemed a safety concern due to this and their small mouth structure. Additionally, the spider is not typically aggressive unless provoked. “Joro spiders aren’t dangerous to humans, and they don’t appear to be harmful to the environment or the economy. They may even do some good.” says NBC writer and science communicator, Adam Larson. 

So how did these creepy creatures get here? These spiders likely came into the US in a shipment container from Japan back in 2013. They made an appearance most recently in Georgia, and according to an article in GALE, are predicted to make their way up and down the east coast by using their silks and humans as transport. They will be able to survive thanks to their high metabolisms and heart rates. Scientists that have studied these spiders anatomy and behavioral patterns have found that they have the ability to withstand freezing environments, but it’s likely most of the adult joros will die in winter, leaving their eggs to hatch and start the next generations.

So far, no specific bird of prey has been identified to prefer joro spiders. They may be coincidentally eaten by insect eaters, but have no specified predator. However, this shouldn’t be a problem; while they may look creepy, Joros don’t appear to affect local ecosystems. In fact, it appears they will have no impact on the environment at all. These spiders seem to just want to mind their own business and eat all those other pesky insects who dare fall into their web. The best thing people can do is ignore them, and let these creatures thrive.