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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Male rose-breasted grosbeak
John Harrison/Flickr

The rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) is a large, seed-eating grosbeak in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae). It is primarily a foliage gleaner. Males have black heads, wings, backs, and tails, and a bright rose colored patch on their white breast. Males and females exhibit marked sexual dimorphism. These birds migrate through South Carolina.


Oct 22, 2020
A groundhog, AKA woodchuck
Brett Marshall, Sault College,

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. It was first scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. In South Carolina they are found in the mountains and Piedmonts.

Puss Caterpillar

Oct 21, 2020
A puss caterpillar
Gerald J. Lenhard, Louisiana State University,

Megalopyge opercularis is a moth of the family Megalopygidae. It has numerous common names, including southern flannel moth for its adult form, and puss caterpillar, asp, Italian asp, woolly slug, opossum bug,[3] puss moth, tree asp, or asp caterpillar. The "fur" of the larva contains venomous spines that cause extremely painful reactions in human skin upon contact.


Oct 20, 2020
An eastern copperhead
Tom Spinker [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

Agkistrodon contortrix is a species of venomous snake, a pit viper, endemic to Eastern North America; it is a member of the subfamily Crotalinae in the family Viperidae. The common name for this species is the eastern copperhead.

Wasp Mantidfly

Oct 19, 2020
Wasp mantidfly, Climaciella brunnea
Katja Schulz [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Climaciella brunnea look like a mantid (mantis) cross with a wasp. It is found in Canada and the United States. As with most mantidflies, this species is parasitic to spiders as larva: the eggs of wolf spiders are their preferred host and larva will get themselves wrapped up with the eggs in the sac by the spider, since they cannot break into the sacs themselves. If the spider hasn't yet laid eggs, the larva will subsist on the spider's blood until then. Once inside the sac the larva will feast on the eggs until it pupates.

Beech Blight Aphids

Oct 16, 2020
Beech blight aphids
Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service,

The beech blight aphid (Grylloprociphilus imbricator) is a small insect in the order Hemiptera that feeds on the sap of American beech trees. The aphids form dense colonies on small branches and the undersides of leaves. 

A northern water snake.
Courtney Celley/USFWS [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Rudy explains how a northern water snake - carefully -  eats a catfish...

Silvery Checkerspot

Oct 14, 2020
Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)
Larry Meade [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Chlosyne nycteis, the silvery checkerspot, is a species of Nymphalinae butterfly that occurs in North America. It is listed as a species of special concern, believed to be locally extinct in the state of Connecticut.

Dark Fishing Spider

Oct 13, 2020
Dark fishing spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus)
sankax [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

Dolomedes tenebrosus or dark fishing spider is a fishing spider found in the USA and Canada. It is able to bite humans but will run from people. In most cases the bite is no more severe than a bee or wasp sting.

NatureNotes logo
SC Public Radio

Rudy shares some lines from Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey: "Nature never did betray the heart that loved her..."

The golden silk orb weaver, or, banana spider
nikoreto [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Trichonephila clavipes is a species of the genus Trichonephila indigenous to continental North and South America. In the United States, it is commonly known as the "banana spider" and "golden silk orb-weaver".

Pandorus Sphinx Moth caterpillar (Eumorpha pandorus)
Aaron Carlson [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Eumorpha pandorus, the Pandora sphinx moth or Pandorus sphinx moth, is a North American moth in the family Sphingidae. The species was first described by Jacob Hübner in 1821.

Hallowe'en Pennant - Celithemis eponina, Julie Metz Wetlands, Woodbridge, Virginia
Judy Gallagher [CC BY 2.0] via Flicker

The Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) is a species of dragonfly in the family Libellulidae. It is native to eastern North America, including Ontario in Canada and the United States as far west as Colorado.

A spiny orb weaver on its web
NC Wetlands [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Gasteracantha (known as spiny-backed orb-weavers, spiny orb-weavers, or spiny spiders) is a genus of orb-weaver spiders first named by Carl Jakob Sundevall in 1833. The females of most species are brightly colored with six prominent spines on their broad, hardened, shell-like abdomens. It's easy to identify this spider, even from a distance because of its web.

Eastern Dobsonfly Eggs

Oct 5, 2020
An eastern Dobsonfly and its egg masses
Andreas Kay [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Two listeners noticed white masses in the trees overhanging a creek in Poinsette State Park. These are egg masses of the eastern Dobsonfly.