Rudy Mancke


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

SC Public Radio

Woodpeckers will sometimes compete for already-existing holes.

Chinese Privet
Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

Privet, or Ligustrum japonicum, is a naturalized plant, and can be hard to control. Its flower has a strong, sweet odor.

Red Salamander

May 11, 2018
A Northern Red Salamander.
John Clare [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

You'll find this salamander mostly on the Piedmont and in the mountains, sometimes on the Coastal Plain.

A Summer Tanager.
Julian Londono, Flickr

Whether passing through or nesting here for the summer, there are lots of species returning to South Carolina right now.

A Metallic Wood-Boring Beetle.
John Flannery [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A Dorchester listener, walking in the park, spots an interesting insect...

Butterflies Are Out!

May 8, 2018
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly.
Peter Miller via Flickr

Monarchs, Zebra Swallow Tails, Black Swallows, and many more are out.

Snake in the Attic

May 7, 2018
SC Public Radio

A listener finds a "snake skin" in the attic...

Backyard Snakes

May 4, 2018
A Dekay's snake (Storeria dekayi), aka Brown snake.
David Cappaert,

Brown Snakes and Red-Bellied Snakes are common in backyards.

The Sora

May 3, 2018
The Sora (Porzana carolina) is a small waterbird, of the family Rallidae, sometimes also referred to as the Sora Rail or Sora Crake.
Mike Baird [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

This species is found around fresh water marshes and flooded fields.

Wheelbug nymphs and eggs.
Fat Gordy at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

A gang of recently-hatched wheel bugs emerge from their egg mass... "Kinda scary."

Sweet Leaf Galls

May 1, 2018
Symplocos tinctoria, Common Sweetleaf.
James H. Miller & Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society, [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Horse Sugar, or, Sweet Leaf plants are the only host for Sweetleaf galls.

Green Tree Frog

Apr 30, 2018
American Green Tree Frog
Brett Hondow [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

This frog's range is expanding from the Coastal Plain to the Piedmont.

Gibraltar Import

Apr 27, 2018
Giant Fennel
James Gaither [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

A listener brings a plant home to the Lowcountry from Gibraltar, and it's thriving!

Lowcountry Bones

Apr 26, 2018
SC Public Radio

Lowcountry nature lovers share a cache of bones...

Grass Carp

Apr 25, 2018
Grass Carp.
Phil's 1stPix [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

These fish are a non-native species.

Courting Skinks

Apr 24, 2018
Broad-Headed Skink (Eumeces laticeps).
Peter Paplanas [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Broad-Headed Skinks together in the spring? Courtship, most likely.

SC Public Radio

Rudy shares some words from "the poet."

Sunday is Earth Day

Apr 20, 2018
A little girl holding sign at a march. The sign depicts the earth and is captioned, "We need to understand."
bones64 [CC0 1.0]/Pixabay

A time to celebrate our home world.

Carpenter Bee.
Bob Peterson [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Carpenter Bees and butterflies...

Cormorant fishing the Indian River Lagoon, Florida.
Andrea Westmoreland [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

You may see large numbers of these birds hunting for fish this time of year.

Coyote or Red Wolf?

Apr 17, 2018
A red wolf at the Land Between the Lakes recreation area in Kentucky.
Jim Liestman [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

A sighting by a listener raises a question of identity.

A Black Squirrel?

Apr 16, 2018
SC Public Radio

The Fox Squirrel is larger than the Eastern Gray Squirrel. Both varieties can produce black, or melanistic, offspring.

Eastern Tent Caterpillars in their tent.
J. R. Carmichael [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

The Eastern Tent Caterpillars are out in force this time of year.

Is it a Water Moccasin?

Apr 12, 2018
Banded Water Snake
Tom Spinker [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr.

A couple spotted a snake sunning in Francis Beidler Forest...

The Luna Moth

Apr 11, 2018
Luna Moth - Actias luna.
Lynette Elliott [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

There are two broods of Luna Moth each year in South Carolina.

Gall Wasps

Apr 10, 2018
 A gall wasp (Cynipidae) oviposits into an existing oak gall.
Alex Wild, University of Texas at Austin, "Insects Unlocked" project. [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Varieties of Gall Wasps often have strict preference for the kind of plants they chose to host their young.

Oconee Bells

Apr 9, 2018
Oconee Bell Flower - Devils Fork State Park.
Jason AG [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The Oconee Bell is a rare flower of the southern Appalachians found only in a few locations in the mountains of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia in moist wooded areas along streams.

Caterpillar of the Great Leopard Moth.
Bill Bumgarner [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

This moth is unusual in that it over-winters as a caterpillar.

SC Public Radio

A listener finds two animal skulls and skeleton and turns to Rudy for help identifying.

Royal Paulownia

Apr 4, 2018
Royal Paulownia blossoms.
Famartin [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

These trees come from China, but, have been used as ornamentals in the South U. S. for many years.