I know that you are going to be elated to learn that a new spider has taken up residence in Georgia. This large colorful arachnid is the joro spider and is native to China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.
According to University of Georgia biologists, that spider was initially located in Hochston, Georgia in 1983. The current range of the joro spider in the Peach State includes Hall, Jackson, Gwinnett, and Madison Counties in Georgia’s northeast quadrant. The spider has also turned up in Greenville, South Carolina.
While nobody knows how it made its way to the United States, Richard Hoebeke, curator of the University of Georgia’s Museum of Natural History believes that the showy spiders probably hitched a ride to Georgia on shipping crates transported on container ships from ports in Japan and China.
JORO SPIDER photo submitted by D. Kizlowski/UGA
The joro spider is not a spider that lurks in the dark corners of old barns or haunted houses. While in has been found living in plain sight in woodlands; it also seems to prefer to live near humans. The first indication that joro spiders are living nearby is often the appearance of a large orb-shaped web. When the light catches these webs just right, they take on a golden sheen.
The female joro spider has a body that measures 0.68-0.98 inches in length. In addition, when spread out, its eight legs span anywhere from three to four inches.
Many folks are afraid a spider will bite them. Fortunately, the joro spider is not aggressive. However, for some unknown reason if a joro spider bites you, unless you are highly allegoric to its venom, the bite will give about the same amount of discomfort as a bee sting.
Based on how far the joro spider has expanded its range in well less than a decade, it appears it will continue its range expansion unabated. Meanwhile, the UGA biologists working at the Museum of Natural History are requesting our help in plotting the spider’s marc across the state.
With that in mind, if you spot what you believe to be a joro spider, take a picture of it, and send it to Richard Hoebeke at firstname.lastname@example.org along with the date and location of your sighting.