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Metellina segmentata
Metellina segmentata


Autumn spider
The autumn spider (Metellina segmentata) in the order Araneae, suborder Araneomorphae (Section: Entelegynae), and the superfamily Araneoidea, used to belong to the family long-jawed orb weaver (Tetragnathidae). It is now in the family Metidae.
Metellina segmentata - Spider
Metellina segmentata - Spider
Scientific synonyms for Metellina segmentata are: Meta segmentata, Aranea reticulata, Aranea angulata, Aranea senoculata, Aranea segmentata, Aranea inclinata, Epeira inclinata, Epeira variegata, Zilla reticulata, Miranda piniophila, Zilla inclinata and Meta antrorum.
Metellina segmentata caught a fly
Metellina segmentata caught a fly
The autumn spider is found throughout the Palearctic. In Germany and Central Europe, it is the most commonly encountered species of the genus Metellina and is non-endangered. It reproduces once a year. Female autumn spiders are 6.5 to 9 mm in length, males, 5 to 7.5 mm.
Spider caught a Dung fly
Spider caught a Dung fly
The upper section of the body (prosoma) has dark edges and is a glassy, yellow to light brown colour. On the upper side is a black marking which resembles a "Y". The sternum is dark brown.

The rear section of the body (opisthosoma) is oblong. The basic colours of the upper side are white , yellow , green or reddish-brown. . At the upper section of the opisthosoma is the characteristic leaf-shaped marking (folium) , which varies in colour (often in highly-contrasting red tones). The underside is yellow to brown in colour, with one dark and two bright stripes in the middle.

The legs of the autumn spider are yellow to light brown in colour and have indistinct dark spots and rings. The midfoot (metatarsal) of the first leg pair is (on the ventral side) slightly hairy, ( on the ventral side).

Due to its appearance, the autumn spider can easily can confused with the small autumn spider (Metellina mengei), which is similar in colour. . The species can be told apart by the shape of their genitals, their body size and the hair on the legs of the males.

The autumn spider can be encountered in a wide range of environments, at various altitudes. It prefers semi-open habitats such as forest edges, clearings, box, trees, lawns, gardens, hedgerows, bogs and swamps, where it can be found as a mature adult in herbal layers and shrub layers from August to October.

The autumn spider is diurnal and feeds on insects. It builds a relatively small orb-web which is often close to the ground, The web is not more than about 1.5 metres from the ground. The autumn spider is usually found upside down in the centre of its web or near the edge , waiting for prey. In case of danger or disturbance, the spider falls back into the vegetation and adopts a special posture as camouflage. At to the soil the autumn spider can often be found in the company of spiders from the family Linyphiidae.

Males survive mating, which occurs in September and lasts only a few minutes Before mating takes place a number of sexually mature males appear in the vicinity of the orb-web of the female , where they wait for the female’s readiness to mate. If an insect gets caught in the female’s web, the males race towards it and the fastest spider wraps the prey in silk and offers it as a "bridal gift" to the female. While the female spider eats the gift , the successful male starts a courtship ritual during which it drums and plucks at the threads of the web to get the full attention of the female. When the female is ready, she takes position on a mating string at the rear of the web. After mating the male spider leaves.

The female autumn spider creates several white, round cocoons onthe branches or the bark of trees for the protection of the eggs. Up to 100 yellow eggs are laid in these cocoons. A few days later the female autumn spider dies. The eggs overwinter in the cocoon. The new generation hatches in spring.

Some natural enemies of the autumn spider are: insectivores, birds and other spiders from the family pirate spiders (Mimetidae), for example species of the genus Ero.
Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Metellina segmentata
2. Metellina segmentata - Spider
3. Metellina segmentata caught a fly
4. Spider caught a Dung fly
Taxonomy
ClassArachnida
Arachnids
SubclassMicrura
InfraclassMegoperculata
OrderAraneae
Spiders
SuborderAraneomorphae
InfraorderEntelegynae
SuperfamilyAraneoidea
FamilyTetragnathidae
Longjawed orbweavers, Long-jawed orb weavers
GenusMetellina
Speciessegmentata
Metellina segmentata
Autumn spider
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