Scientists need your pictures, data for spider management research

The Joro spider, native to Japan, was introduced to Georgia in 2014
Scientists need your pictures, data for spider management research
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - The next time you see a massive black and yellow spider overhead, snap a picture.

That’s the directive from researchers studying the Joro spider.

Joro Watch is an online tool that collects public data to help experts learn more about the species. Rebekah Wallace with the University of Georgia’s Center of Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health said the resource was released over the summer. As Joro spider season begins in fall, Wallace called on the public to work with scientists to collect more information.

“There are questions about where it’ll show up, when it’ll show up, how fast it’s spreading,” explained Wallace. “We don’t know enough about Joro spiders.”

Joro Watch asks the public for the date, time, location, and picture of Joro spider sightings. Users can add additional information, including how many spiders were seen in a location.

The Joro spider, native to Japan, was first reported in Georgia in 2014. Tracking growth and movement patterns helps researchers develop conclusions over what to do next.

“Is it actually invasive? Or is it just an introduced species that’s not having much impact in the environment?” said Wallace.

While the Joro isn’t directly harmful to humans, invasive species can hurt ecosystems.

Will Hudson, an extension entomologist professor at the University of Georgia, said the Joro has exponentially spread over the past several years.

“They’re here. They’re everywhere,” said Hudson. “If it’s affecting how people can use their yards, how they can enjoy their backyard or porch, then that’s harm.”

Female Joro spiders can produce 300 to 1000 eggs in one egg case. As the spider population continues to grow, Hudson believes more Joro data will help researchers develop ways to manage them.