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The Nature of Our Planet Earth 

Jim Anderson shares some of his favorite photos from his years as a naturalist, educator and all-around critter-loving life

  • Jim Anderson

In this week's Natural World, columnist Jim Anderson shares some of his favorite photos from his years as a naturalist, educator and all-around critter-loving life.

  • Jim Anderson
Birthing aphids: Those tiny garden pests that suck the life out of landscaping and veggie plants can be a beautiful sight if you happen to be at the right place, in the right light, when they are giving birth to their live progeny — no metamorphysis for these insects.

  • Jim Anderson
Crab spiders wait in ambush for their prey by hiding in flowers, but you're in the wrong colored flower this time, honey!

  • Jim Anderson
Wolf Spiders often wait in ambush for their prey. With their agile ability they can run down a mouse or a louse to get what they're after. Their eyesight is faultless too.

Yes, dear, the adult, female black widow spider does have an hour glass-shaped warning for us to see on the ventral side of its abdomen, but the juvenile doesn't; she's just all black and still deadly. And yes, they use their ultra-strong silken web (which is the strongest substance on Earth) to trap mice and other delectable creatures, which they kill and turn to a liquid with venom, sucking it into their stomachs. Ugh! What a way to go.

  • Jim Anderson
Now, if you were a female jumping spider, how could you not fall for that handsome, big-eyed guy?

  • Jim Anderson
Everyone has to have a way of making a living, that's a female robber fly (with her ovipositor sticking out her back-end; not a stinger) sucking the life out of a baby grasshopper she captured.

  • Jim Anderson
No one gets off scott free. Even though the robber fly is a powerful insect predator, that tiny mite is out to get her share as well, sucking the life out of the insect killer.

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