Georgia: Giant spider from Asia blankets landscape with thick web across country – Republic World

This year, a giant spider native to East Asia has woven its thick, golden web on power lines, porches, and vegetable patches all throughout north Georgia, causing some residents to flee and prompting a flurry of worrying social media messages. Jennifer Turpin, an arachnophobe, stopped blowing leaves in her yard after accidentally wandering into a web spun by the Joro spider in metro Atlanta, AP reported. Will Hudson’s front porch in Winterville, Georgia, became useless due to an abundance of Joro webs 10 feet (3 metres) deep. Hudson believes he has killed over 300 spiders on his home, according to AP.

The Joro, Trichonephila clavata, belongs to the orb weavers, a genus of spiders notable for their highly ordered, wheel-shaped webs. Joro females have bright yellow, blue, and red markings on their bodies and are found in Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan. When their legs are completely extended, they can measure three inches (8 cm) across. It’s unclear when and how the first Joro spider arrived in the United States. In 2014, a researcher in Georgia discovered one about 80 miles (128 kilometres) northeast of Atlanta. They’ve also been discovered in South Carolina, and Hudson believes they’ll spread throughout the South.

Joros pose no harm to humans, dogs, or cats

AP reported, Paula Cushing, an arachnologist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, said, “we see natural ebbs and flows in the populations of many different species that may be linked to local conditions, particularly slight changes in rainfall.” According to Cushing and other experts, Joros pose no harm to humans, dogs, or cats, and will only bite them if they feel threatened. Joros help decrease mosquitoes and biting flies, according to Nancy Hinkle, an entomologist at the University of Georgia, and are one of the few spiders that will trap and consume brown marmorated stink bugs, which are a severe nuisance to many crops, according to AP.

Asia spider Joros, are likely large enough to eat huge pollinators trapped in their webs, according to Cushing, but those insects may be a minor component of their diet. Research states that their webs are used as a food source by other spiders, suggesting that the Joro could help native spiders. However, there was evidence that Joros competed with other orb weavers. The majority of the Joros are likely to die by late November, but they may return in similar, if not greater, numbers next year, though scientists warn that is difficult to forecast.

(With inputs from AP)

Image: AP

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