Metellina mengei

Metellina mengei is a spider belonging to the Tetragnathidae family located in Europe up to Georgia. It was once though to be a form of M. segmentata that occurs in the spring. M. mengei is much rarer than M. segmentata.

This species is much like Metellina segmentata, from which it can only be distinguished by comparing the genital features. Another pointer id that males of M. segmentata have hairs on the underside of the first leg and M. mengei have none. On the underside of the female M. mengei, the central dark colored band extends forward past the epigyne, unlike M. segmentata.

The body length of the male is around 3.5 to 5.5 millimeters while the body length of the female is around 3.5 to 7 millimeters.

It can be found all year round, but may be more common over the winter and spring seasons through to early summer.

Like M. segmentata, it occurs in nearly any habitat, and can be collected in large numbers by sweeping in grassland or in woodland understory. The orb webs constructed by this species are normally slanting with the spider sitting in the middle, on the lower side, frequently with the male waiting at the side of the female’s web. Male and female adults have been recorded throughout the year, but mostly from late spring to mid-summer.

Image Caption: This image shows a Metellina mengei spider. It is about 5 mm small (20 mm with legs). Credit: André Karwath/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)