Large black and yellow spiders from Asia have swarmed the east coast of the United States in recent years, but don’t panic, they aren’t dangerous though they may look intimidating, and they can even be beneficial to the local ecosystem.
Scientists have studied these invasive spiders, which also appear in bright red and dark blue, since their arrival in Georgia around 2013.
Within a few years, huge webs of guru spiders became common in the forests of this region. They weave at heights within reach of humans, with a diameter of more than a meter, and represent a kind of parachute for these spiders, allowing them to fly long distances through the air.
Andy Davis of the University of Georgia told AFP that the reason for conducting the study is due to the large spread of these spiders, noting that they are “present almost everywhere in northern Georgia.”
The spiders most likely arrived in a container or truck and are expected to continue to spread across America, heading north.
The researchers sought to track the presence of spiders in the United States. Species of them have been observed in South and North Carolina, Tennessee, and even Oklahoma.
Davis considered that these spiders may need about twenty years to reach without any help in Washington, DC, noting that the possibility of the fastest spread is the spiders entering cars and thus passing hundreds of kilometers.
And the study conducted by Andy Davis and his colleague Ben Frick looked at the characteristics of these spiders, as they feed on small insects (midges) and can survive during short waves of frost. In general, it can adapt to temperate climates as it comes from Japan.
People often consider invasive species to be associated with negative consequences, as happened with the spotted lantern fly (lycorma delicatula), an insect from Southeast Asia that spread to Pennsylvania in 2014 and is known to wipe out fruit trees and other plants.
But Andy Davis emphasized that gurus spiders should not be a cause for concern, comparing them to golden silk spiders (Trichonephila clavipes), a species that first spread to the United States 160 years ago after arriving from the tropics.
The researcher explained that golden silk spiders are currently observed everywhere in the southeast of the country and do not cause any harm, adding that “they have been there for a long time and have integrated into the ecosystem, and guru spiders can follow the same path.”
Guru spiders can also be food for some animals such as lizards and birds. While Davis emphasized that she did not pose a threat to humans, he called for her not to be killed.
“I don’t think guru spiders deserve to be crushed or killed, they don’t chase us and it’s not their fault that they are found in this place,” he said.