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Nephila clavata L. Koch, known as the Joro spider and native to East Asia (Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan), is newly reported from North America. Specimens from several locations in northeast Georgia were collected from around residential properties in Barrow, Jackson, and Madison counties in late October and early November 2014. These are the first confirmed records of the species in the New World. Our collections, along with confirmed images provided by private citizens, suggest the Joro spider is established in northeast Georgia. Genomic sequence data for the COI gene obtained from two specimens conforms to published sequences for N. clavata, providing additional confirmation of species identity. Known collection records are listed and mapped using geocoding. Our observations are summarized along with published background information on biology in Asia and we hypothesize on the invasion history and mode of introduction into North America. Recognition features are given and photographic images of the male and female are provided to aid in their differentiation from the one native species of the genus (Nephila clavipes) in North America.
This is the 4th version, to reformat the references and correct a typo made in converting miles to km in Figure 2.