It’s time for some exposure therapy no one asked for, folks — scientists predict that giant spiders could soon rain down on the East Coast, and we should simply “learn how to live with them” like this is Resident Evil or something.
A new study done by the University of Georgia for the Royal Entomological Society revealed that the invasive Joro spider is spreading in the southeastern US. Even its scientific name sounds like a threat — Trichonephila Clavata.
The best part? Scientists don’t know too much about the biology and physiology of these eight-legged bad boys, so it’s mostly going to be a surprise.
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What we do know that is that they’re from eastern Asia and first arrived in the US around 2013. Oh, also that they can “parachute” down from the sky.
“In their native Japan, Joro spiders colonize most of the country,” researchers wrote, adding that Japan has a very similar climate to the US and is approximately the same latitude.
Their close cousin, the golden silk spider, already has a success story in the American southeast, where it’s been established and thriving over the last 160 years.
The golden silk spider has, however, not expanded beyond its range in the southeast, but the study says that’s because of “thermal limitations,” so we can safely rule “mercy for humans” out of the equation.
Unlike its cousin, the competitive Joro spider can withstand temperatures colder, probably in hopes of becoming the family favourite. It also has a higher metabolism and heart rate, and therefore actually has a shot at invading southeast US in the coming years.
Here’s the good news — Joro spiders probably harmless. Despite their villain-esque looks and menacingly long legs, the University of Georgia says their fangs aren’t big enough to pierce human skin.
“People should try to learn to live with them,” said research scientist Andy Davis. “If they’re literally in your way, I can see taking a web down and moving them to the side.”
“But they’re just going to be back next year,” he ominously concluded.