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Invasive Species

Can Joro spiders bite? A guide to the giant spiders headed for the East Coast this summer.

Enormous, invasive Joro spiders could spread across the Northeast, a study says. And they're not expected to disappear anytime soon.

Since their initial sightings in Georgia in 2013 and 2014, their population in the state and other regions of the Southeast has expanded.

In the , researchers from determined that the species is fast expanding outside South Carolina, and data suggests they may be found in most of the eastern United States.

Here's what we know of Joro spiders:

Where are Joro spiders in the US now?

According to , Joro spiders reside mainly in Georgia but have migrated to neighboring states. They've been spotted in South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee, and sightings have been reported in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Maryland.

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More:Joro spiders, giant, venomous flying arachnids, are here to stay, pest experts say

And it seems as if the spiders could expand into the Northeast.

Research from the University of Georgia shows that Joro spiders can withstand  far better than golden silk spiders. They have a higher metabolism and heart rate that lets them withstand chilly climates. That may allow them to spread to .

How did Joro spiders get the US?

There is no clear answer to how Joros came to the U.S., though they probably arrived in shipping containers. In nearly 10 years, the species has rapidly spread across Georgia and other parts of the Southeast.

Do Joro spiders fly?

Joro spider don't have wings. But they do have a talent for sailing on wind currents.

Joro hatchlings typically emerge in spring and early summer. The tiny spiders ride the winds using their silk as a balloon, just as in the animated movie "Charlotte's Web." Most web spiders do some form of ballooning, but the Joro spider will leave from an elevated spot. If its silk gets long enough, winds can carry it 100 miles or more.

How big is the Joro spider?

Joro spiders are members of the golden silk orb-weavers, a huge type of spider. Like the native golden silk spiders of the southeast United States, they construct enormous webs of gold-colored silk.

When their legs are stretched, adult females can span 6 to 8 inches.

Don't be alarmed by the enormous size of the female Joro spiders − they can be as big as your palm. But they do not represent a threat to humans because their venom is weak and it's difficult for their small fangs to penetrate the skin.

Are Joro spider poisonous?

The spiders release venom, but they do not bite unless they're cornered. Their bites can cause regional discomfort and redness, much like bee stings.

SOURCE , Penn State, College of Agricultural Sciences, Study.com

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