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Description of Meta menardi (European cave spider)
Female 15 to 17 mm.
Abdomen yellow-brown with dark spots or stripes. Darker at the rear.
Carapace red-brown with a short dark brown median band and a dark brown edge. Chelicerae dark.
Legs and palps red-brown with dark annulations.
Male 11 to 12 mm.
Markings and colours almost identical to the female.
Cellars, caves and scree crevices.
Common in almost the whole of Europe.
Research has shown us that Meta menardi produces a highly stretchable silk for the protection of her egg sac. The silk can stretch up to 7.5 times its initial length. The silk of other spiders only stretches 1.2 to 1.5 times the length before snapping. Researchers think that the silk is composed of densely packed fibers which can unroll and therefore explain the huge elasticity.