These large, invasive spiders could spread throughout the eastern U.S.
New research suggests colorful jorō spiders are hardier than thought, but there’s no evidence they’re a danger to humans or ecosystems.
Ecologists Andrew Davis and Benjamin Frick have crisscrossed the United States studying everything from monarch butterflies to house finches. But when a giant, neon-yellow spider arrived in the U.S. state of Georgia, the team got to observe a fascinating invasive species from their own backyard.
“It’s hard not to get interested in such a Nerf football-looking spider when it’s in your face that often,” says Frick, who at one point had 10 invasive jorō spider webs draping the trees outside his apartment.
Since Trichonephila clavata's accidental introduction in 2014—likely via a container ship from East Asia to Atlanta—the palm-size arachnid has spread across Georgia and into the neighboring Carolinas, as