Rudy Mancke

Host

Naturalist Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene which began it's long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Before coming to television, Rudy served as the natural history curator at the South Carolina State Museum for 10 years, and was a high school biology and geology teacher. He earned a degree at Wofford College, attended graduate school at the University of South Carolina, and received honorary doctorate degrees from the College of Charleston, Winthrop College, and Wofford College.

Rudy Mancke currently hosts NatureNotes on both SCETV and South Carolina Public Radio.

Contact Rudy Mancke

Ways to Connect

Red Bats

Oct 20, 2017
Eastern Red Bat, Lasiurus borealis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae)
Matthew O'Donnell [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Red bats are common South Carolina.

Red-Eyed Vireo

Oct 19, 2017
Red-eyed Vireo
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarre [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A listener spots a red-eyed bird he cannot identify.

Smelly Caterpillar

Oct 18, 2017
Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio troilus)  Frozen Head Natural Area & State Park, Morgan County, Tennessee.
Michael Hodge [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The caterpillar of the spice bush swallowtail butterfly can produce a "strange" odor when disturbed.

Sistrurus miliaris miliaris, the Carolina pigmy rattlesnake.
CDC

Hiking in Mistletoe State Park a family finds two Carolina pigmy rattlesnakes, the most distinctly patterned, and variably colored subspecie of the pygmy rattlesnake group.

The snake ranges from eastern North Carolina, southwestward through most of South Carolina, across central Georgia and Alabama, and into a small portion of east central Mississippi.

"Woodbines in October"

Oct 16, 2017
NatureNotes
SC Public Radio

Rudy shares poems by Charlotte Fiske Bates, "Woodbines in October," and "

A female common yellowthroat.
Tnolley [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

The female common yellowthroat songbird is harder to identify than the male, especially in its first year.

A female two-striped walking stick with a male on its back.
Mary Keim [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The male two-stripped walking stick is much smaller than the female.

Marbled Orb Weaver
Ben Jackson/Flickr

A listener finds a marbled orb weaver spider recycling an Illinois river cruiser dragonfly.

Mammut americanum (Kerr, 1792) - American mastodon tooth (molar) from the Pleistocene of North America. (public display, Cincinnati Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)
James St. John [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds a tooth on Edisto Beach which may have belonged to a mastadon.

The Snake's Last Meal

Oct 10, 2017
A Canebrake Rattlesnake.
Ltshears, via Wikimedia Commons

A necropsy on a canebrake rattlesnake reveals its last meal.

Eastern Hognose Snakes

Oct 6, 2017
Eastern hognose snake
Wikipedia. Creative Commons License

If you pick up the eastern hog nose snake, it will play dead. It's pretty scary looking, though , so most people don't bother.

The larva of a lacewing butterfly.
gbohne/Flickr

The larva of the lacewing butterfly stacks the dead carcasses of its prey, its molts, and dirt onto its body for camouflage.

A midland water snake.
Peter Paplanus [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

This nonvenomous snake is found from the Midlands to the mountains of South Carolina.

The Atlantic Sturgeon

Oct 3, 2017
An atlantic sturgeon brood fish at the Bears Bluff National Fish Hatchery, SC.
James Henne/USFWS [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Atlantic sturgeon were a highly sought after target for commercial caviar fishermen on the Atlantic coast. Overfishing and pollution were initial reasons identified for population declines. Successful fall spawning has occurred for 3 consecutive years in 2011, 2012 and 2013 at the Bears Bluff National Fish Hatchery, SC. A successful temperature regime for fall spawning (without the use of hormones) has been developed for natural tank spawning.

Puss caterpillar.
touterse [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

The puss caterpillar has stinging bristles. It is the larval form of the southern flannel moth.

A female "railroad-worm" beetle: lights on, lights out.
(c) Aaron Pomerantz [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

By day, a normal looking "worm." By night... it glows! The railroad-worm, or glow-worm, is a larva or larviform female adult of a beetle of the genus Phrixothrix in the family Phengodidae.

Amphibians on the Menu

Sep 28, 2017
An juvenile Black Rat Snake.
Brad Carlson [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

Immature Black Rat snakes will eat amphibians. The adults feed on birds and mammals.

The "Moss Animal"

Sep 27, 2017
A freshwater Bryozoan colony.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

A freshwater bryozoan colony will only thrive in clean water.

Coral Beans

Sep 26, 2017
Mature Coral Bean seed pods.
Katja Schulz [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Coral bean is a native plant. Its red, tubular flowers grow on tall stalks in the spring, drawing hummingbirds and butterflies. In the fall, coral bean's seed pods begin to mature turning dark, almost black, and then splitting open to reveal shiny, scarlet red seeds nestled inside. All parts of this plant are poisonous, so be sure to keep them away from kids and pets.

Azaelia Caterpillars

Sep 26, 2017
Red-headed Azalea caterpillars
Thomas Stromberg [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

Azalea caterpillars eventually become Daytana moths.

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Sep 22, 2017

On an equinox there are roughly equal periods of night and day.

Canebrake Rattlesnakes

Sep 21, 2017
A Canebrake Rattlesnake.
Ltshears, via Wikimedia Commons

The Canebrake rattlesnake tends to stay away from people. However, if you live on South Carolina's coastal plain, you might find one sunning on your porch...

The projections on a Spiny Oak-Slug caterpillar will sting, so, don't touch..
Marcia Cirillo [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds a caterpillar covered with fuzzy, white "stuff."

Eastern Cotton Mouth

Sep 19, 2017
An Eastern Cottonmouth Snake, agkistrodon piscivorus.
Geoff Gallice, Gainesville, FL; via Wikimedia Commons

These snakes are common on the coastal plain in South Carolina and love wet environments.

Hickory Horned Devil caterpillar
Bob Warrick [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Large, green, with orange horns: the Hickory Horned Devil is aptly named. However, it is harmless to humans.

A Brown Widow spider.
Roy Niswanger/Flickr

Brown Widow Spiders are not native to South Carolina. They have moved northward from Florida.

An Eastern Lubber grasshopper.
Derrickchapman, via Wikimedia Commons

A young nature lover finds a large grasshopper at Brookgreen Gardens.

A Regal Jumping Spider
Tone Killick [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Phidippus regius, known commonly as the Regal Jumping Spider. It is the largest jumping spider in eastern North America.

A Green Crowned Slug caterpillar.
Benny Mazur [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Don't try to touch any variety of slug caterpillars you may find. They sting!

An Ant Lion.
Larry and Teddy Page [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Ant Lions are common in South Carolina. Before the undergo metamorphosis they are commonly called Doodle Bugs. As with the caterpillar and the butterfly, the differences between the larval and the adult stages are striking.

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