NatureNotes

Mon-Fri, throughout the day

Naturalist Rudy Mancke, host of ETV's NatureScene, shares his knowledge of plants and wildlife each weekday on NatureNotes. These 1-minute snippets offer you a chance to find out about diverse topics having to do with the natural world. From the inner workings of our world's ecosystems, to plants & animals unique to South Carolina, to tips on beautiful sites to visit, you'll learn more about the world around you on NatureNotes.

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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.

A Midland Water Snake, Nerodia sipedon pleuralis.
Peter Paplanus [CC BY 2.0], viaFlickr

Water Snakes are often mistaken for Copperheads because some Water Snakes' colors are similar to those of the Copperhead. However, the pattern on the water snake is always narrow on the sides and wide near the backbone. This is the opposite of the pattern found on the Copperhead.

Inchworms a Threat?

Sep 7, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We enjoyed the solar eclipse from the comfort of our Saint Matthews yard. Although lots of people searched out and set up camp in open fields, I’m not a sun lover and we simply  made periodic forays from our  covered porch out into an  open area of the front yard to observe the progress of the blackout. Numerous shade trees help keep our eighteen eighties home cool, a  value familiar to residents of cities with active urban tree programs.

An Eastern Snapping Turtle.
rickpilot_2000 [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

The Eastern Snapping Turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in South Carolina.

American Goldfinches, male (left) and female
Ken Thomas [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Most American Goldfinch usually pass through South Carolina and nest farther north. But, there has been an increase in the number who are nesting here instead.

Pandorus Sphinx, Eumorpha pandorus, Durham, North Carolina, United States
Patrick Coin [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Listeners have reported many sightings of this beautiful moth.

"Water Turkeys"

Sep 4, 2017
NatureNotes is a production of South Carolina Public Radio.
Wknight94 [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Then Anhinga is sometimes called a Snake Bird, or a Water Turkey because of its long neck.

Beech Blight Aphids

Sep 1, 2017
Grylloprociphilus imbricator - Beech Blight Aphids, on American Beech (Fagus grandifolia).
Fritz Flohr Reynolds [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Beech Blight Aphids have a nickname: Boogie Woogie Aphids.

Spittle Bugs

Aug 31, 2017
A spittlebug nymph, paritally uncovered.
imarsman [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The Spittle bug nymph blows bubbles in sap to hide under.

Lampshade Spider

Aug 30, 2017
Lampshade spider (Hypochilus pococki) at Oconaluftee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Swain County, North Carolina, USA
Ryan Kaldari, public domain. via Wikimedia Commons

When viewed from the side, hanging under a rock, this spider's web reminded a listener of a lampshade. Its common name: Pocock Lampshade spider. They commonly build their webs under overhangs and in caves.

Green Dragon

Aug 28, 2017
Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium)
Tie Guy II [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Green Dragon has one leaf that divides into up to 17 leaflets.

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