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Why you're likely to see the palm-sized Joro spider in Virginia this year

Posted at 10:51 AM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 10:51:43-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Palm-sized Joro spiders are expected to arrive in Virginia this year.

The Joro spider's golden web took over yards all over north Georgia in 2021, unnerving some residents.

The spider was also spotted in South Carolina, and entomologists expected it to spread throughout the Southeast.

"No predators, It doesn't have anything that's controlling its population size in the new habitat, but it has perfect conditions to spread," University of Georgia School of Ecology student Benjamin Frick said.

Spider Takeover
The joro spider, a large spider native to East Asia, is seen in Johns Creek, Ga., on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021.

Native to Southeast Asia, the Joro spider is different from other spiders because, as researchers at the University of Georgia said in a paper published last month, the Joro appears better-suited to colder temperatures than a related species.

"We exposed them to a brief period of cold only for a couple of minutes at below-freezing temperatures and most of the Joros did just fine," Andy Davis, a research scientist at the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia, said.

The study found that Joros' metabolism is twice that of the golden silk spider, its heart rate is 77% higher, and can survive a brief freeze that kills off many of its cousins.

The study found that the spider first arrived in the states in 2013.

While it may be of little comfort to arachnophobes, Joros are highly unlikely to bite.

"Its fangs are so small relative to most human skin that it probably won't be able to get its fangs into you even if it wanted to,"
Frick said.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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