Georgia State Spider

Come on, this should be easy

The Joro spider. Love ’em or not love ’em, they’re here and here to stay. We think they should become the Georgia state spider.

If you meet someone these days from out of state, they have one question. It isn’t, “Like them Dawgs?” or “Have you been to Stone Mountain?” It’s, “Are you seeing any of those monster spiders?” They might cite a ridiculous news article about spiders with wings, webs so strong that they can catch a red shouldered hawk, or how people are dying because of spider bites.

Let’s look at it (somewhat) objectively.

These are big, colorful spiders with gloriously gold webs. They are bigger than the more common wolf spider, less dangerous (by far) than the brown recluse and black widow spider, and more interesting than the banana spider.

But let’s not forget the Joro’s flair for international relations. This spider didn’t just cross borders; it crossed oceans, embodying the spirit of globalization and diversity that Georgia prides itself on. It’s the living, crawling, and web-weaving embodiment of the state’s warm embrace of different cultures and species.

Though not uniquely in Georgia, they started here once arriving from Asia. Hence, we should as a state take the lead on this. The Joro spider is a testament to Georgia’s rich biodiversity. Introduced from East Asia, they’ve thrived in the state’s warm climate, weaving their golden webs across trees, porches, and even power lines. Their arrival signifies the interconnectedness of our world, a constant reminder that life finds a way, even across continents.

Some may argue that the Joro’s invasive status disqualifies it from being a symbol. However, invasive species are a reality of our globalized world. The Joro’s presence isn’t inherently negative; it’s an opportunity to learn about adaptation and the interconnectedness of ecosystems. Embracing the Joro allows us to turn a potential problem into a point of pride.

They eat bugs. That’s a spider thing, but among their favorite meals are some nasty bugs. They are beneficial predators. They control populations of pesky insects like flies, mosquitoes, and even the invasive brown marmorated stink bug. By keeping these in check, Joros contribute to a healthier ecosystem for both humans and native plants. Their webs, while impressive in size, are not dangerous to humans, and the spiders themselves are quite shy, preferring to flee than fight.

While not peach-colored, they evoke the brightness of the South with their primarily yellow bodies. Like the similarly colored Eastern tiger swallowtail, Georgia’s state butterfly, they are visible immediately. They add a touch of exotic beauty to the Georgia landscape. Their vibrant colors are a welcome sight, breaking the monotony of browns and greens. Their intricate webs, shimmering with morning dew, are a testament to the wonders of nature’s engineering. These spiders challenge our perception of arachnids, proving they can be more than just creepy crawlies.

The Joro spider is friendly when handled carefully. We don’t suggest picking one up, but we have seen many photos of others handling them safely.

Their emotional impact is strong. In that, they symbolize passion, a Southern trait. Sure, some less educated people fear them, but such is diversity. Most of us look at them, and wonder.

They represent resilience. They’ve adapted to a new environment, thriving despite being far from their native land. This spirit of adaptation reflects the pioneering spirit of Georgia itself, a state built on overcoming challenges and forging a new path.

The Joro spider isn’t just an insect; it’s a conversation starter, a reminder of the wonders and complexities of nature. By celebrating the Joro, Georgia can showcase its commitment to environmental awareness and its appreciation for the unique creatures that call the state home.

From their ecological benefit to their striking beauty, Joro spiders embody the spirit of Georgia – resilient, adaptable, and full of surprises. So, the next time you encounter a Joro spider, don’t reach for the fly swatter. Take a moment to appreciate this golden guardian, a potential symbol of a state that embraces both its history and its ever-changing future.

We don’t know yet what’s involved to make it the official Georgia state spider, so keep watching this space.

Have you seen an animal munching a Joro? Let us know.

Learn the dining habits of a Joro spider.

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