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

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Orange Striped Oakworm

Nov 5, 2020
An orange stripped oakworm
Anita Gould [CC BY-NC 2.] via Flickr

Anisota senatoria, the orangestriped oakworm, is a Nearctic member of the family Saturniidae and subfamily Ceratocampinae. It is one of the more common Saturniids. The species lives in eastern North America, from the edge of the Great Plains to the east coast and from southern Ontario to central Georgia, Alabama, eastern Texas, and northern Florida.

Gulf Fritillary

Nov 4, 2020
Gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae insularis)
Charles J Sharp [CC BY-SA 4.0} via Wikimedia Commons

The Gulf fritillary or passion butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) is a bright orange butterfly in the subfamily Heliconiinae of the family Nymphalidae.

The caterpillar food plants for gulf fritillaries are members of the genus Passiflora. The adult butterflies use nectar from many flowers, including Lantana plants. The Passiflora host plants are frequently called passion vines; in some Texan counties where this butterfly's population is high, gulf fritillaries will feed on specific species such as Passiflora lutea and Passiflora affinis.

Indian Pipe Plant

Nov 3, 2020
An Indian pipe
bobistraveling [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Monotropa uniflora, also known as ghost plant (or ghost pipe), or Indian pipe, is an herbaceous perennial plant native to temperate regions of Asia, North America and northern South America. 

Unlike most plants, it does not contain chlorophyll. It is parasitic, and more specifically a mycoheterotroph. Its hosts are certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees.

Mantis Shrimp

Nov 2, 2020
A mantis shrimp
Roy L. Caldwell, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley (National Science Foundation) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mantis shrimps, or stomatopods, are carnivorous marine crustaceans of the order Stomatopoda, branching from other members of the class Malacostraca around 340 million years ago. Mantis shrimps typically grow to around 10 cm (3.9 in) in length, while a few can reach up to 38 cm (15 in).[3] The largest mantis shrimp ever caught had a length of 46 cm (18 in); it was caught in the Indian River near Fort Pierce, Florida, in the United States.

Funerary dagger moth (Acronicta funeralis) larva
Jon Yuschock, [CC BY-NC 3.0 US]

Acronicta funeralis, the funerary dagger moth or paddle caterpillar, is a moth of the family Noctuidae. The species was first described by Augustus Radcliffe Grote and Coleman Townsend Robinson in 1866. It has a scattered distribution. It is found in North America from Manitoba to Nova Scotia, south to Maryland. It is also found in Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, and along the west-coast from California to British Columbia. And, rarely, you will spot one in South Carolina.

Eastern cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus)  Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary  Harleyville, SC
Sasha Azevedo [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

Agkistrodon piscivorus is a species of pit viper in the subfamily Crotalinae of the family Viperidae. It is the world's only semiaquatic viper, and is native to the southeastern United States. It is the only venomous species of North America's water snakes, and one of twenty one venomous snakes in the United States.


Oct 28, 2020
NatureNotes logo
SC Public Radio

Rudy shares some verses about Autumn.

Squirrels and Bot Flies

Oct 27, 2020
Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) with tree squirrel bot flies (Cuterebra emasculator)
Mary Keim [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Cuterebra emasculator, the squirrel bot fly, is a species of new world skin bot fly in the family Oestridae. The species was first described by Asa Fitch in 1856.

Mystery Skeleton

Oct 26, 2020
A opossum skeleton
Mariomassone [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds the bones of an opposum. The opossum  is a marsupial of the order Didelphimorphia, endemic to the Americas. The largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, it comprises 103 or more species in 19 genera. Opossums originated in South America and entered North America in the Great American Interchange following the connection of the two continents.

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.