BLACKSBURG, Va. – The fear of spiders, arachnophobia was already one of our greatest phobias.
Now, 2022 has ushered in the news that we may see the Joro spider up and down the East Coast it’s taken the internet by storm.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the creepy-crawler out there, so we talked to Virginia tech entomologist Dr.Theresa Dellinger to get the facts.
“That’s where a lot of sensationalism has come out about this spider. The adult female Joro spider is probably about three to four inches, which is across the palm of your hand. But that is including the long thin legs,” explained Dellinger.
Dellinger said the males are much smaller and that as far as aggression, it turns out they’re timider than most of the region’s native spiders.
“Neither gender is considered aggressive. These are not considered a type of spider that you need to worry about lunging at you like a bad horror movie,” said Dellinger.
More good news, she said its hype is worse than its bite.
“The Joro spider is big, but its fangs are thought to be small and pretty ineffective at piercing human skin. It’s possible it could bite if handled roughly, but it’s not considered a medically important spider like the Black Widow,” said Dellinger.
She described the Joro spider as an ambush predator that likes to sit in its web as it waits for its next meal.
So if we do see them, that’s likely where we’ll spot them.
More good news, despite some misleading headlines, these spiders don’t fly.
“The biggest misconception is that these are flying spiders. Somebody might read the headlines and think that these have wings, spiders don’t have wings and the adults don’t fly at all,” explained Dellinger.
While baby spiders use their parachute-like silks to travel in the wind, thankfully, the big ones do not.
“The adults don’t do that. So you are not going to see parachuting adult spiders using their web as a parachute falling out of the sky. That’s just sensationalist,” said Dellinger.