Good news! The palm-sized, colorful Joro spider pictured here will not hurt you or your pets! Though alarming to look at, the tiny Joro fangs usually cannot pierce human skin.
Also, it’s environmentally-friendly according to a recently published study. Unlike many invasive spiders and bugs, this spider appears to do no harm to the ecosystem. It may actually provide benefit to birds as a new food source.
That’s good, because the Joro appears to be here to stay. These spiders spin golden webs like the golden silk spider, but they appear to be hardier in the cold.
Researchers believe they arrived via shipping containers and will spread rapidly.
One reason the spiders spread so well is the way the hatchlings travel. They form web silks and drift great distances on wind currents. Because of its similarity to human travel in hot air balloons, this technique is called “ballooning.”
In addition to ballooning hatchlings, the spiders also catch rides from humans.
Benjamin Frick, an undergraduate researcher who worked on the study told NPR, “Anecdotally, right before we published this study, we got a report from a grad student at UGA who had accidentally transported one of these to Oklahoma.”
As hard as it may be to believe, you have no need to worry if you come across this spider in your path.
“People should try to learn to live with them,” said Andy Davis, a research scientist in the Odum School of Ecology. He recommends you leave them alone when you can and gently move them out of the way if you must.
I hope I didn’t creep out anyone with this startling spider image! What’s catching your eye this week?
Image credit: Alex Sanz/AP via NPR