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

The excavated soil and entrance hole to a Mining Bee's nest.
Rosser1954 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Mining Bee is solitary, but builds nests in "colonies."

Cedar-Apple Rust

Apr 2, 2018
Cedar-Apple Rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae).
Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,

A listener finds an "orange, tentacled, 'blob'" on Cedar.

Eastern Garter snake, Florida.
Glenn Bartolotti via Wikimedia Commons

These snakes emerge from hibernation early in the Spring.

SC Public Radio

Opossums are South Carolina's only marsupials.

Red Bellied Snake.
Todd Plerson [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

These small snakes are pretty common in backyards.

Balls of Silk

Mar 27, 2018
Basilica Orbweaver with Egg Sacks.
Katja Schulz [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A listener in West Columbia finds silk covered "balls" hanging from a tree limb.

SC Public Radio

Pulling weeds from a flower bed, a listener finds the vertebrae of a bony fish. 

A female Red Bellied Woodpecker.
Mike's Birds [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The Red Bellied Woodpecker was first described by naturalists in the colony of Carolina. Its scientific name is Melanerpes carolinus.

SC Public Radio

A listener finds two varieties of Northern Water Snake sunning together.

SC Public Radio

Rudy shares some of Longfellow's poetry, "If Spring Came but Once a Year."

Happy Vernal Equinox

Mar 20, 2018
SC Public Radio

Today is the first day of Spring, 2018!

"Scrambled Egg" slime mold.
Siga [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The common name for this mold is pretty darned descriptive.

A wren asleep on the porch. [CC BY-NC 4.0]

You'll often find Carolina Wrens "hiding" in the corner of porches.

The Pearly Wood-Nymph

Mar 15, 2018
Eudryas brevipennis, Pearly Wood-Nymph.
Jose Amorin [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A listener spots a moth on her porch, and it's not one that's often seen, though it lives throughout the state.

A "Crazy Bug"

Mar 14, 2018
Backswimmer (Family Notonectidae)
(c) Olaf Nelson [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

South Carolina has two, very similar "water bugs," the Water Boatman and the Backswimmer, both found in fresh water.

A Dolphin Vertebra?

Mar 13, 2018
SC Public Radio

A listener finds vertebra on the beach on the Isle of Palms...

Ambystoma maculatum (spotted salamander) egg masses with algae visible inside the eggs at the University of Mississippi Field Station.
Fredlyfish4 [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds some strange looking masses in some standing water in a roadside ditch.

A Brand New Moth

Mar 9, 2018
SC Public Radio

A listener finds a moth, newly emerged from its cocoon.

A Fox in the Daylight

Mar 8, 2018
A Red Fox.
Ronald Laubenstein, US Fish and Wildlife Service,

A listener spots a Red Fox in daylight. Is it unusual for one to be abroad during the day?

Backyard Lizard

Mar 7, 2018
An Eastern Fence Lizard found in Douthat State Park is a state park located in the Allegheny Mountains in Virginia.
Jarek Tuszynski [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds a new type of lizard in his backyard.

A Sign of Spring

Mar 6, 2018
A Spring Azure butterfly.
David DeHetre [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

When you see these butterflies out and about, you know Spring is at hand.


Mar 5, 2018
SC Public Radio

A listener finds egg masses from a resident of his yard.

A column stinkhorn (Clathrus columnatus).
Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia,

A listener finds "something from an alien environment" in his yard.

Eastern Pheobe

Feb 28, 2018
An Eastern Phoebe.
Katja Schulz [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A listener spots an Eastern Phoebe in her yard.

Woodland Voles

Feb 27, 2018
Woodland Vole (Microtus Pinetorum).
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (public domain)

The case of the disappearing dandelions.

Sand Collars

Feb 26, 2018
A sand collar, the egg capsule of a moonsnail.
© Hans Hillewaert [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

They look like they might be man-made, but, they are not.

Bagworm Moths

Feb 23, 2018
A Bagwood Moth egg case.
William Fountain, University of Kentucky, [CC BY-NC 3.0 US]

The female Bagworm Moth is wingless.

Starfish Stinkhorn Mushroom
Mike Young [CC BY 3.0 US] via Wikipedia

This fungus gets part of its common name from its shape.

Cedar Waxwings

Feb 21, 2018
Cedar Waxwing
Terry Spivey, USDA Forest Service, [CC BY 3.0 US]

A listener finds a flock of Cedar Waxwings drinking in his backyard.