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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Gulls on the River

20 hours ago
A ring-billed gull
Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0]

During the winter months, inland residents of South Carolina may well see an increase in the number of ring-bill gulls on area rivers.s

NatureNotes logo
SC Public Radio

Rudy shares a tip about a good book for fossil hunters on the Atlantic coast and the Gulf Coast.

Seven-Whorled Polygira

Jan 15, 2021
Views of a seven-whorled polygyra shell
Tim Ross, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Polygyra septemvolva is a species of air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial gastropod mollusk in the family Polygyridae.

Appalachian Genshin

Jan 14, 2021
Appalachian gentian
Bernd Haynold [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons

Gentiana austromontana, the Appalachian gentian, is a 1–2 ft (30–61 cm) tall flowering plant in the Gentianaceae family. It is native to the southern Appalachians of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Two Loons
USFWS/Gary J. Wege

Loons (North America) or divers (United Kingdom / Ireland) are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Eurasia. They can be found in South Carolina only during winter migration.

Bryozoan Colonies

Jan 12, 2021
A freshwater bryozoan colony
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Bryozoa (also known as the Polyzoa, Ectoprocta or commonly as moss animals) are a phylum of aquatic invertebrate animals, nearly all forming sedentary colonies. Typically about 0.5 millimetres (1⁄64 inch) long, they are filter feeders that sieve food particles out of the water using a retractable lophophore, a "crown" of tentacles lined with cilia.

Golden Silk Spider Web

Jan 11, 2021
Trichonephila clavipe, or golden silk spider
Joselito de Guzman [CC BY-SA 3.0 ] via Wikimedia Commons

Trichonephila clavipes (formerly known as Nephila clavipes), commonly known as the golden silk orb-weaver, golden silk spider, or banana spider, is an orb-weaving spider species which inhabits forests and wooded areas ranging from the southern US to Argentina.

Theme Music

Jan 8, 2021
NatureNotes logo
SC Public Radio

Rudy identifies NatureNotes theme music,
Tarrega's Estudio Brilliante, after an adaptation by Chet Atkins.

Carpenter Ants

Jan 7, 2021
Carpenter ants
Ryan Hodnett [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) are large (0.3 to 1.0 in or 0.76 to 2.54 cm) ants indigenous to many forested parts of the world.

They build nests inside wood consisting of galleries chewed out with their mandibles, preferably in dead, damp wood. However, unlike termites, they do not consume wood, discarding a material that resembles sawdust.

Yellow-bellied sapsucker
dfaulder, via Wikimedia Commons

The yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) is a medium-sized woodpecker that breeds in Canada and the northeastern United States.

The yellow-bellied sapsucker was described and illustrated using a hand-coloured plate by the English naturalist Mark Catesby in his The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands which was published between 1729 and 1732.

Mole Cricket

Jan 5, 2021
A northern mole cricket
Zack [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Mole crickets are members of the insect family Gryllotalpidae, in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets). Mole crickets are cylindrical-bodied insects about 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) long as adults, with small eyes and shovel-like fore limbs highly developed for burrowing.

Wooly Bear Caterpillar

Jan 4, 2021
Woolly bear caterpillar, Pyrrharctia isabella
Juanita Demchak [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

Pyrrharctia isabella, the isabella tiger moth, banded woolly bear or just woollybear or woolly worm, occurs in the United States and southern Canada. It was first formally named by James Edward Smith in 1797.

The thirteen-segment larvae are usually covered with brown hair in their mid-regions and black hair in their anterior and posterior areas. In direct sunlight, the brown hair looks bright reddish brown.

Happy New Year!

Jan 4, 2021
NatureNotes logo
SC Public Radio

Rudy shares some words for the new year from Henri-Frédéric Amiel.

Marbled Salamandar

Dec 29, 2020
A marbled salamander
cotinis [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The marbled salamander is a stocky, boldly banded salamander. The bands of females tend to be gray, while those of males are more white. Adults can grow to about 11 cm (4 in), small compared to other members of its genus. Like most of the mole salamanders, it is secretive, spending most of its life under logs or in burrows.

Southern House Spider

Dec 28, 2020
The southern house spider
Edward L. Manigault [CC BY 3.0 US], Clemson University Donated Collection,

The southern house spider is a species of large spider in the family Filistatidae. Currently given the scientific name Kukulcania hibernalis, it was formerly known as Filistata hibernalis. Found in the Americas, it exhibits strong sexual dimorphism. It is occurs in the southern states of the USA, throughout Central America and some of the Caribbean, to southern Brazil and Uruguay. The males may be mistaken for brown recluses because the two have similar coloration and body structure.