WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- An enormous spider species is spreading in the southern states.
- The Joro spider came from Asia.
- These spiders can use their webs as parachutes.
New Yorkers have a new arachnid neighbor.
According to the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology, the enormous Joro spider from Asia has arrived in southern states — particularly in Georgia and South Carolina — and is now about to spread rapidly to Alabama.
“People should try to learn to live with them,” researcher Andy Davis said in a university news release.
However, the issue is whether these critters could survive in colder climes, such as New York City.
While any snowbird can confirm that the cold in Northern climes is enough to drive them away, Davis and Frick’s research show that these nasty insects can withstand the cold “just fine.” The spiders were subjected to subzero temperatures for minutes at a time, which is roughly the amount of time it would take them to find a place where they can be warm.
The Joro has nearly twice the metabolic rate and a 77 percent greater heart rate than its arachnid cousin, the golden silk spider, which wouldn’t survive a brief frost. This prompted researchers to believe it has the ability to move north. It can also ‘fly.’
The Joro have been seen using their webs like parachutes, allowing them to be transported by the wind. This ability makes them look like they are flying. According to one research anecdote, they’ve also been known to hitchhike.
In an interview with Atlanta CBS affiliate WGCL, Benjamin Frick, one of the study’s co-author, said that there’s a high probability for these spiders to be spread through people’s movements:
“We got a report from a grad student at UGA who had accidentally transported one of these to Oklahoma.”
The spiders are “no predators,” according to Frick, and they don’t have anything regulating their population number in the new habitat, but they can spread.
While these giant spiders with striking yellow stripes are deadly, researchers believe their comparatively small fangs can hardly penetrate the “most human skin.”
Because they aren’t regarded as a serious threat to the local environment, there isn’t much of a push to keep the Joro spider population under control.
If you try to break their web or push them away, Davis says “they’re just going to be back next year.”
Source: New York Post