Jumpin’ Joros! Do Joro Spiders Jump?

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: March 15, 2022
Image Credit Richard Sailors/Shutterstock.com
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Joro spiders are large colorful spiders spotted in Georgia and South Carolina. They have large golden webs spanning gardens, sheds, and treetops. They are an invasive species first documented in the United States in 2014. A recent research study from the University of Georgia speculates that these spiders could be colonizing up the East Coast. Their research showed that Joro spiders could tolerate cold temperatures better than golden silk spiders. Joro spiders can balloon, creating a parachute-like web to float with wind currents, but do Joro spiders jump? If you come across one, should you be concerned that it may launch itself at you? Let’s find out!

What Do Joro Spiders Look Like?

Joro Spider Webs
Joro Spiders have long legs that can span 3-4 inches, but can they jump?

Joro spiders are colorful spiders with yellow and red markings. Their bodies are cylindrical with eight long skinny legs. Their legs are colorful too, with bands of yellow and blue. They are about an inch long, but their legs can span 3-4 inches. The males are less colorful than the females and quite a bit smaller at a quarter-inch.

What Family Do Joro Spiders Belong To?

Joro spiders are orb-weavers. They belong to the family Araneidae. There are more than 2,800 species of orb-weaving spiders.

Why Would A Spider Jump?

Jumping spider
Jumping spiders jump on their prey to surprise them and attack. This one is snacking on a cricket!

Cathy Keifer/Shutterstock.com

Some spiders hunt using jumping as a way to attack their prey. There are web-spinning spiders and hunting spiders. Web-spinning spiders like the Joro spider spin webs and wait for prey to come to their webs. Hunting spiders actively pursue their prey, often hunting in the day and ambushing unsuspecting prey like smaller insects and other spiders. They jump on their prey to surprise and attack. There is a whole family of spiders called “Jumping Spiders”!

Web-spinning Spiders: wait for foodHunting spiders: actively search for food
Orb-weavers (Araneidae)Jumping spiders (Salticidae)
Cobweb spiders (Theridiidae)Crab spiders (Thomisidae)
Cellar spiders (Pholcidae)Fishing spiders (Pisauridae)
Funnel weavers (Agelenidae)Wolf spiders (Lycosidae)

What’s The Difference Between Jumping Spiders And Orb-weaving spiders?

isolated jumping spider
Jumping spiders have two large eyes next to a set of smaller eyes. They also have eyes on the back of their head!

iStock.com/Windy Soemara

  • Jumping Spiders (Family: Salticidae): The jumping spider family includes about 6000 species worldwide, with about 300 different species in the United States. They are characterized by their unique eyes, with two over-sized eyes and two small eyes. Don’t hide behind them because they literally have eyes in the back of their head as well. They have four eyes on the back of their heads. Despite having large eyes, they have small bodies with an average size of 1/8 to 3/4 of an inch. Photos often depict them devouring flies to put their size into perspective.
  • Orb-weaving Spiders (Family: Araneidae): Orb-weavers are quite a bit larger than jumping spiders. As mentioned above, Joro spiders are about an inch long and their legs extend much longer. Other common orb weavers are the golden silk orb-weavers and banana spiders. They spin elaborate webs with golden-colored silk, with some webs reaching 10 feet wide. They range in size with Joros being 1 inch long and golden silks getting to be up to 2 inches long with a leg span of 4-5 inches.
Yellow Orb Weaver in his web in the garden.
Golden silk orb-weavers can be 2 inches long with a leg span of 4-5 inches.

How Do Jumping Spiders Jump?

Jumping spiders do not jump like grasshoppers. Grasshoppers use the muscles in their hind legs to jump. Spiders do not have muscles in their legs, but they can change the blood pressure in their legs and use the pressure to jump up to 50x their length!

Do Orb-weavers And Joro Spiders Jump?

Research suggests that most spiders can jump, but some don’t need to. Orb-weavers who spend almost all of their time on their webs don’t need to jump to catch prey or avoid being eaten.

Joro spiders probably can jump but don’t need to. There isn’t a need for them to jump to catch prey or avoid predators.

Do Joro Spiders Jump Into The Air When They Take-off To Balloon?

Flying Spiders
Joro spiders, and a variety of other spider species, use ballooning to move to new locations.

Ademortuus/Shutterstock.com

No, they do not jump into the air to balloon. Instead, they use one of two methods, “tiptoeing” or “rafting.” Researchers in Berlin set up an experiment where spiders were put on a platform and observed to see how they took off, recording the wind conditions and humidity. They videotaped the take-off ritual. It is quite remarkable to watch! The spiders put their front arms in the air as if testing the wind direction. They then raised their abdomens as if standing on the tip of their toes. They quickly spun a series of webs that formed a triangle and then were lifted into the air. It does not look like they jump. They are just whisked away by the wind.

What Animals Can Jump The Highest?

jumping animals - grasshopper
Grasshoppers can jump 20x their body length using the muscles in their back legs.

ervin herman/Shutterstock.com

If we measure what animals can jump the highest compared to their body size, here are the top three:

#3. Grasshoppers: Grasshoppers can jump 20x their body length, with some recorded to jump 16-23 feet!

#2. Jumping Spiders: Jumping spiders are one of the animals that can jump the highest. Compared to their body size, they come in 2nd with being able to jump 50x their length. Some species may be able to jump 100x their length!

#1. Fleas: Fleas use spring-like legs to reach distances of 10 inches, which is 200x their length! They are only .2 inches and can spring onto a passing dog from a few inches away.

What Is The Highest A Human Has Ever Jumped?

We’re not talking about the highest vertical, which comes in handy for a basketball player. We are talking about the same way spiders jump from the ground up. The “highest standing jump (male)” with a man standing on the ground and jumping up to land on a platform was by Christopher Spell in Shrub Oak, New York, on 7th February 2021. Can you believe he was able to jump 5 feet 7 inches? The average American man is 5 feet 9 inches tall, so Christopher can almost jump over most American men!

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".