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Common Orb Weavers

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Quick Facts

Scientific name:  Metellina segmentata / Metellina mengei

Size:  Up to 8mm

Distribution:  Found throughout the UK

Months seen:  July to November

Habitat:  Found on vegetation from ground level up to 2m

Food:  Small invertebrates

Special features:  The colours of the Common Orb Weavers can be variable, but the pattern on the abdomen is fairly consistent.  On the females, look for two triangles side by side on top of the abdomen.  In M. segmentata these are more clearly defined than in M. mengei.  On the males the markings on the abdomen look more like a tree leaf, with clearly defined ribs and veins.  The males have a slimmer abdomen, longer legs and frequently have darker markings.  In both sexes the front end (cephalothorax) features a mark which resembles a tuning fork.

The name comes from the beautiful orb-shaped (rounded) webs which these spiders construct to catch their food.  During the mating season the males move onto the webs of the females.  The webs have a hole at the very centre.

Common Orb Weavers are also sometimes called "Orb Stretch Spiders", "Autumn Spiders" or "Lesser Garden Spiders".

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