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Lesser Garden Spider Meta segmentata

Not all Stretch Spiders are that easy to identify as such. A very common spider is depicted below. By looking at the male, in the top pictures, you can see it is a Stretch Spider, but the female, in the bottom pictures, is very different and can easily be mistaken for an ordinary web spider. The female is also extremely variable in colour and markings. The spiders of this genus (Metellina) are commonly known as Orb Stretch Spiders. They used to be in a family of their own the Metidae, but nowadays are considered to be part of the Stretch Spider family. This species is also known as Metellina segmentata.

By the way, there is a look-a-like: Meta mengei, also known as Metellina mengei. According to some these species can be told apart by certain characteristics. Others say the only way telling them apart is by looking at the genitals. For the time being I do not dive into this, but in the near future I most likely will look into this problem.