Joro Spider (Trichonephila clavata)



JoroSpider.Org takes a casual look at the intimidating Joro Spider now calling North America home in ever-growing numbers. It is native to Japan and eastern parts of Asia, but it likely hitched a ride to the U.S. via shipping containers and was first spotted in Georgia in 2013. It looks similar to the native Golden Silk Orb Weaver. Since then, the Joro spider rapidly expanded its range outside of northeastern Georgia and into other states. Like other spider species, Joro spiderlings are able to cast their silk into the air and float on the wind to new locations, a process called ballooning. Where they land is random, but their ability to compete and thrive in new environments means they can establish themselves in a habitat quickly and successfully. It is impossible to prevent potential transport by humans, especially in such a traversed region as the South. Because of this, entomologists and researchers believe, in time, the Joro Spider will continue spread farther north and east.
Photograph of a Joro Spider
Size
0.27in - 0.98in
(7mm - 25mm)
Origin
Eastern Asia
Colors
Black; Yellow; Blue; Gray/Grey; Red
Characteristics
8-Legged; Striped Legs; Striped Abdomen
Web-Spinner
Yes; Golden color; Waist-knee Height
Biting / Venomous
Yes, Though Non-Aggressive
Known Diet
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Natural Predators
Birds; Insects
The name of the Joro spider comes from Japanese folklore. A cunning shape-shifter, Jorogumo is a spider that can transform into a beautiful woman who then traps unsuspecting men, draining them of their life force. In reality, the Joro spider is not dangerous to people, pets or even plants that they reside on. However, the sheer size and the alarming colors of the Joro spider invoke trepidation, if not terror, to some who approach it. Like virtually every spider, it has venom, but its venom is too weak to be a medical concern (unless you are highly allergic to its particular venom, in which case medical attention is indeed necessary). Really, Joros are seemingly docile and quite shy, and they have not exhibited aggressive behavior. People may miss this gentle disposition because its appearance is that of a classic 'scary spider'. If its long black and yellow legs are completely stretched out, it can cover an adult's entire palm, which can be highly disconcerting to many. The tubular abdomen is covered in yellow hairs with gray bands, and its head region (the cephalothorax) is covered in silvery white ones. The conspicuous color combination makes it easy to spot, suggesting a boldness that some might equate with aggression. It creates huge webs between trees and shrubs, sometimes 7 to 9 feet wide, right at the height of most adults' chest or faces, making it possible to walk through one if not paying attention. The silk is a yellow or golden color, not the familiar white silk found in native spiders. The female weaves an intricate circular shape and sits upside-down in the center of its web, like many other kinds of spiders. Put altogether, a Joro spider can give a lot of humans the creeps, but many entomologists suggest just leaving them alone. If one takes up residence in a highly trafficked area in the yard, relocation, not termination, is the recommended course of action.
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Despite its benign personality, it is not native to North America and it may be able to outcompete some native species for territory, which is a valid concern, but studies are still ongoing into how much of an impact, if any, it might make on local spider populations. It does the same great job of controlling insect populations as native spiders. If you spot a Joro spider in an area outside of northeastern Georgia, you can register your sighting with JoroWatch.org, a website created by the University of Georgia to map the spread of the spider.

Photos and images of the Joro Spider.


The following images were made available through various photographers from our sister site www.InsectIdentification.org.


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The known territorial reach of the Joro Spider to date (2023).


The territorial reach of the Joro Spider grows across the United States with each passing year. Sightings of the Joro Spider are currently (2023) concentrated in northern Georgia with noticeable infiltration into neighboring South Carolina. Fewer sightings have been recorded in neighboring states of Tennessee and North Carolina - though these are expected to grow. Limited sightings have been recorded Maryland, West Virginia, and Oklahoma.

Current Joro Spider territorial reach map
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