On Gorse in a woodland clearing next to a freshwater "scrape". Body probably 4-5mm long.
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Thanks for your id and very helpful explanation. I've had a look through my other photos and can't see anything that shows this detail more clearly. I hadn't realised the importance of the underside of the abdomen for id and have never tried very hard to get a detailed view before but after your explanation and a little reading around the subject I will pay much more attention to it in future.
This was in one of my regular haunts so I'll keep a look out for it and hopefully it won't be blowing the photographical equivalent of a gale next time I find it!
Unfortunately the epigyne characters are very hard to photograph. Often a male will be hanging around and can be determined from the hairs on the tarsus of the foremost legs.
I've just submitted a new observation of a different specimen, found in my garden, which I think shows the epigyne and might be M segmentata. http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/331484
If you can find the time to look at it and let me have your thoughts I would be very grateful.
..but still not close enough on the epigyne, only a very close stacked macro will give the kind of detail I'm talking about, these can be hard enough under a microscope grab. I did a thread about them a while ago on WAB which shows the kind of detail required in a (rather shoddy) microscope grab.
The darkness of the line through the epigyne on your second photo and the fact that we are still relatively early in a poor season would suggest its likely to be m.mengei again ~ but m.segmentata can't be ruled out.
The easiest ones to id are the males, they should be hanging around the females webs looking to catch the ladies whilst they are eating! If you can get a good focused shot of the first leg, the two end segments always have a mixture of angled spines and perpendicular hairs. On m.mengei these hairs are a long fringe and in m.segmentata very short if visible at all.
Sadly the females can't be dealt with in the same way.
From a photography, rather than a pure identification perspective, there is a huge variety in colouration within both species, and when you find males lurking around the female's web some interesting behaviour can probably be captured.
Lat/Lng: 51.54253, -3.62227
OS grid ref: SS875838