The cicada BroodX has come and gone, and isn’t expected to return until 2038.
Meanwhile, scientists are keeping a close eye on another invasive species event that could land some time soon, in the form of a type of spider unlike anything most people have seen before.
This invasive species could cover the entire East Coast of the United States, from Florida to New York State, and now researchers are urging people to prepare for their arrival.
“It Doesn’t Have Anything Controlling its Population Size in the New Habitat”
The spiders have the “perfect conditions to spread,” according to researchers from the University of Georgia.
Originally from Japan, the giant “parachuting spiders” first made their way to the Peach State in recent months. They are expected to spread further up and down the East Coast this spring due to a wide variety of factors.
“It doesn’t have anything that’s controlling its population size in the new habitat, but it has perfect conditions to spread,” said Benjamin Frick, co-author of a study on the insects.
What makes these bugs a prime candidate to spread far and wide is their ability to survive the cold, the researchers found.
They are also known as Joro spiders, and typically measure about three inches in diameter.
“So in our experiment, we exposed them to a brief period of cold only for a couple of minutes at below-freezing temperatures and most of the Joros did just fine,” said study co-author Andy Davis at the University’s Odum School of Ecology.
Researchers have found that the spiders can travel using their webs like balloons or parachutes to ride the wind.
Humans could spread them faster than anything else by allowing the spiders and/or their eggs to hitch a ride on personal belongings or vehicles.
“We had a Joro being found in Oklahoma, we tracked the person who made the observation and it turned out it was a student from here,” Davis said.
What to Do if You Are Bitten by a Joro Spider
According to Davis, the Joros don’t appear to have much of an effect on local ecosystems.
It is unlikely that you will be bitten by one, although the bite feels “far less than a wasp sting, like a little pinch,” he said.
Joros don’t appear to have much of an effect on local food webs or ecosystems, Davis said.
“Its fangs are so small relative to most human skin that it probably won’t be able to get its fangs into you even if it wanted to,” Frick added.
The spiders should start showing up sometime around late May to early June, they added.
They are also said to carry a little bit of venom, but most who are bitten will not need medical attention.
Check out a news report on the Joro invasion below: