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.

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SC Public Radio

A predator-prey drama takes place in Magnolia Gardens...

Gooseneck Barnacles
Alex Derr [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds an odd combination of objects on the beach, Rockweed and Goosneck Barnacles.

A Water Strider.
Tim Vickers [Public domain] from Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds a Wheel Bug "recycling" a Water Strider.

Dark Fishing Spider

Aug 2, 2018
The Whitebanded Fishing Spider, Dolomedes albineus.
John [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

This spider is one of the largest found on the state.


Aug 1, 2018
Gaillardia pulchella, or Firewheel.
© Xavier Caré [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Gaillardia pulchella, or Firewheel, is a southwestern species that has become naturalized to South Carolina.

A Opossum skeleton.
Mariomassone [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds the bones of an Opossum, South Carolina's only marsupial.

A Noisey Bird

Jul 30, 2018
A Gray Catbird.
Matthew Petroff [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

One of the sounds made by the Cat Bird resembles a house cat's "meow."

"The Mockingbird"

Jul 27, 2018
SC Public Radio

The Mockingbird, a poem by Frank Stanton...

Florida Cottonmouth

Jul 26, 2018
An Eastern Cottonmouth snake, agkistrodon piscivorus.
Geoff Gallice, Gainesville, FL; via Wikimedia Commons

This subspecies is not as common as the Eastern Cottonmouth, which is widespread on the Coastal Plain.

Puss caterpillar.
Gerald J. Lenhard, Louisiana State University,

This larva of the Southern Flannel moth is very common in South Carolina.

A common whitetail dragonfly, male.
Bruce Marlin, via Wikimedia Commons

Males of this species have a bright white abdomen.


Jul 23, 2018
Jack-in-the-Pulpit fruit.
Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds a Jack-in-the-Pulpit plant that is fruiting.

Eastern Hognose Snake

Jul 20, 2018
Eastern hognose snake
Sturgis McKeever, Georgia Southern University,

These snakes come in various color schemes, but, always have an upturned "snout."

Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) - Carolina Raptor Center at Huntersville, North Carolina
Dick Daniels [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

These birds are more common inland than they use to be.

Eyed Click Beetle, Alaus occulatus
By Henryhartley (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

A listener spots an Eyed Click Beetle and wonders about the purpose of the false-eye spots.

A Southern Copperhead
Ltshears [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The Copperhead is more likely to strike when disturbed than any other venoumous snake in the state.

Carolina Wrens often come back to the same area each year to nest.


Jul 13, 2018
The larvae of the Dusky Birch Sawfly are often mistaken for caterpillars.
Lacy L. Hyche, Auburn University,

The Dusky Birch Sawfly is a stingless wasp. As the common name implies, its prefered food plant is the River Birch.

A "Mermaid's Bracelet"

Jul 12, 2018
A tube from a polychaete worm, most likely a Plumed Worm, Diopatra cuprea.
Karen Parker, Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr

A family finds an object in a tidal pool which one of the children dubs a "mermaid's bracelet." It's actually a tube extending from a Plumed Worm, or Diopatra cuprea, beneath the sand.

A Great Crested Flycatcher.
Amy Evenstad [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds the nest of a Great Crested Flycather and has a question...

Fox Squirrel

Jul 10, 2018
An Eastern Fox Squirrel.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System

A listener spots an odd looking squirrel in Santee...

The Ichneumon Wasp

Jul 9, 2018
An Ichneumon wasp laying its eggs. Inside the wood is the larva of another insect, possibly a Horntail wasp.
Igfugl [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The Ichneumon Wasp lays its eggs in the larvae of other insects.

A Scarlet-Winged Lichen moth.
Seabrooke Leckie [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The caterpillar of this moth feeds on lichen.

Owl Pellets

Jul 5, 2018
An owl pellet.
gailhampshire [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Owl pellets, like the one a listener found, contain the remains of the animals the owl "recycles."

A Black Rat Snake.
Stephen Lody Photography [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds a Black Rat snake making a meal of a squirrel. Rat Snakes are powerful constrictors and feed on small mammals.

Vase Vine

Jul 3, 2018
Clematis viorna
By peganum from Henfield, England (Clematis viorna) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds a beautiful, bell-shaped "flower" in Pickens County and wonders what they are.

Cliff swallows nesting under a bridge.
Marlin Harms, via Wikimedia Commons

The colonial nesting birds are often found on cliff faces in the western U.S. In South Carolina, you will often find them under bridges.

Deer Flies "Bite"!

Jun 29, 2018
A feeding Deer Fly.
Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,

Deer Flies, or Yellow Flies, are out in number this year, especially near water. And, yest, they will "bite"!

Corn snake
Mike Wesemann via Wikimedia Commons

Corn Snakes are often mis-identified as venomous and, unfortunately, killed.

Mating Moths

Jun 27, 2018
A mating pair of Pink-Striped Oakworm moths.
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry,

A listener finds a mating pair of Pink Striped Oakworm moths.