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

Big Spiders

Aug 29, 2018
The Golden Silk, or, Banana spider is one of the large orb weavers you might see.
nikoreto [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

This time of year, spiders have grown prettty big; and the females you see are always larger than the males.

Mating Moths

Aug 28, 2018
Polyphemus Moth
Organic, via Wikimedia Commons

A listener spies some mating Polyphemus Moths.

The caterpillar of the Giant Swallowtail butterfly
TokyoJunkie via Wikimedia Commons

The appearance and behaviour of this caterpillar helps to deter predators.

The Snake on the Porch

Aug 24, 2018
A juvenile Southern Black Racer
Kevin Enge/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

A listener finds a juvenile Black Racer. The young of these snakes have a blotchy pattern of markings.

House Spider

Aug 23, 2018
The Southern House Spider
Edward L. Manigault [CC BY 3.0 US], Clemson University Donated Collection,

The Southern House Spider lives for two to four years.

SC Public Radio

A listener finds the skeletal remains of a wild turkey.

The larva for the Rustic Sphinx moth, Manduca rustica.
homie00001 [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds a caterpillar for a Rustic Sphynx Moth.

The Dobsonfly

Aug 20, 2018
A female Dobsonfly
Andreas McKay [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The female Dobsonfly has strong pincers, though they are smaller than the male's.

The Pine Snake

Aug 17, 2018
A Pine Snake
Glenn Bartolotti [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds a snake that is seldom seen in South Carolina, though they live throughout the state.

Mystery Bird's Nest

Aug 16, 2018
A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher nest.
USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab [Public Domain Mark 1.0] via Flickr

The Blue-Gray Gnat Catcher lives here in the warmer months. They build nests of spider silk or caterpillar silk, and cover them with lichens.

Ghost Shrimp

Aug 15, 2018
A Ghost Shrimp
Ken-ichi Ueda [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

This ghostly-white shrimp burrows in the sand and mud near the edge of the ocean.

Yellowfin Shiners

Aug 14, 2018
Notropis lutipinnis, Yellowfin Shiner, male.
Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

A listener spots bright red fish swimming in a school near Lake Jocassee and wonders what kind they are. The male Yellowfin Shiner turns red during spawning season.

Vaejovis carolinianus - Southern Unstriped Scorpion.
Glen Peterson [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The Southern Unstriped Scorpion is commonly found in the piedmont and mountains of the state. The Striped Scorpion seems to be moving north into the state, found in the coastal plain.

Trapdoor Spiders

Aug 10, 2018
Trapdoor Spider Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA.
Patrick Randall [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A Southern Trapdoor spider spotted in the Upstate, unusually, walking across a road.

A Roseate Sooonbill
Charles J Sharp [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

These birds, in no great numbers, are usually found on the coastal plain of South Carolina.

"Fuzz" in the Grass

Aug 8, 2018
Braconid wasp pupae  on a Tomato Hornworm.
Bev Wagar, [CC BY 2.0]

The pupal cases of the Braconid wasp stick together with fuzzy-looking material.

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.