The Joro spider, also known as Trichonephila clavata, is a member of the recognizable orb weaver family. These particular spiders are characterized by their large size (up to 3 inches in length with their legs extended) and yellow and blue-black striped backs with red undersides. Joro spiders are known for constructing large, wagon-wheel shaped webs that are a golden color. These webs can be several feet in length.
Joro spiders are native to Asia, particularly Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan. In 2014, the first instance of the Joro spider in North America was confirmed in North Georgia. Subsequent sightings have been confirmed as far away as Greenville, South Carolina. It is unclear how and when these spiders first arrived here in Georgia but researchers believe they are here to stay. In fact, researchers have confirmed their presence in at least 25 counties in the state.
Joro spiders are not considered harmful to humans or pets. They will bite when provoked but are not considered a threat. Joros are beneficial to have around as they are one of the only species known to eat adult brown marmorated stinkbugs. They also help keep mosquito and other nuisance pest populations in check. Joro spiders do have predators in our area; both birds and wasps will eat them.
The jury is still out on whether or not there will be any long-term ramifications on local ecosystems. One thing all the researchers agree on is that the Joro spider is likely here to stay.