Six things you should know about the Joro spider

The expected arrival of the Joro spider in Canada is already giving arachnophobes nightmares here.

• Read also: Soon a giant spider in Canada?

In an interview with LCN, the entomological information officer at the Montreal Insectarium, André-Philippe Drapeau Picard, demystified the spider’s mystification, which can grow up to eight inches in size.

The latter explains that the Joro was first seen about ten years ago in Georgia, in the United States. Its resistance to cold, better than expected, suggests its arrival in Canada in a few years.

So here are six things you should know about the Joro spider.

For Mr. Drapeau Picard, the arrival of the Joro spider north of the border is only a matter of time.

“She would have to settle in southern Ontario before arriving in Quebec,” he predicts.

However, he believes that the arrival of this species could take a few more years.

Studies done so far show that the Joro spider can withstand somewhat cold temperatures. However, it is far from certain that it will survive the long and harsh winters in Quebec.

“Although she can withstand a few degrees below zero for a while. (…) their eggs risk dying if it is very cold”, says André-Philippe Drapeau Picard.




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The question many people ask is: is this spider dangerous to humans?

According to the entomological officer, the Joro, despite its impressive dimensions, is quite harmless.

“Its canines, with which it bites its prey, are too small to pierce human skin,” he explains.

“There are spiders that can bite people, but most of the time they don’t. They don’t want to bite. They will only bite if they feel threatened,” adds Mr. Drapeau Picard.




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Yet the reactions of scared people can be dangerous for themselves, says the entomological advisor.

“In general, the fear of spiders is much more dangerous than the spiders themselves. There are people who have set their houses on fire and want to get rid of spiders,” he illustrates.

The latter invites you to put things into perspective, because of the approximately 40,000 existing species, only 250 are potentially dangerous to humans; and none of them exist in Quebec.




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As for the risks to the ecosystem, it’s too early to know if the Joro spider could pose a threat. The investigations are not yet far enough to make a decision, believes André-Philippe Drapeau Picard.

“It is certain that it is an introduced species that could become invasive if it starts to harm other spiders or other species that it could catch in its webs,” the expert continues nonetheless.

The latter states that we must continue to monitor the situation. Furthermore, he mentions that the Joro spider seems to be much less of a problem than some invasive plants.




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Human activity remains the most important factor for introducing a species into an ecosystem.

For example, the Joro spider would have arrived from Japan by container.

This situation reminds us of the importance of vigilance and prevention, says Mr. Drapeau Picard

“Once they have arrived, it is often difficult to eradicate them,” he says.

The expert invites the public to share their photos when they see a Joro spider. He also believes that killing her isn’t such a bad idea.

“It’s an introduced species, so I wouldn’t mind destroying it, but as for spiders in general, you can take them gently (…) and you can put them outside to complete their life cycle, ” explains André-Philippe Drapeau Picard.

Watch the video above to see the full interview.

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