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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Robber Flies

Sep 24, 2020
A robber fly (Triorla interrupta) preying on a dragonfly (Plathemis lydia).
Thomas Shahan [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

They are powerfully built, bristly flies with a short, stout proboscis enclosing the sharp, sucking hypopharynx. The name "robber flies" reflects their notoriously aggressive predatory habits; they feed mainly or exclusively on other insects and as a rule they wait in ambush and catch their prey in flight.


Leafcutter Bee Nests

Sep 23, 2020
Leafcutter bee (Megachile centuncularis) cutting a leaf
Bernhard Plank - SiLencer [CC BY-SA] via Wikimedia Commons

Most common leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.) are approximately the size of the common honeybee, although they are somewhat darker with light bands on the abdomen. They also have different habits. Leafcutter bees are not aggressive and sting only when handled. Their sting is very mild, much less painful than that of honeybees or yellowjacket wasps.

Autumnal Equinox

Sep 22, 2020
NatureNotes logo
SC Public Radio

Today marks the beginning of Autumn. The Autumnal  Equinox for 2020 in the Northern Hemisphere will be at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Clematis terniflora
NjuTIKA [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Clematis terniflora (sweet autumn clematis, sweet autumn virginsbower) is a plant in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. It is native to northeastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Russia (Siberia), Taiwan). It was introduced into the United States in the late 1800s as an ornamental garden plant, and has naturalized in many of the eastern states. It is considered a Category II invasive plant in Florida (north and central) and some other eastern states, meaning it is invading native plant communities but is not yet seen as displacing native species.

NatureNotes logo
SC Public Radio

Rudy shares part of a poem by Sam Walter Foss, The Bloodless Sportsman.

A black swallowtail caterpillar in defense mode
Styler [CC BY-SA] via Wikimedia Commons

A listener reports the strange reactions of some caterpillar on his parsley.

The female tiger swallowtail butterfly is mostly black.
John Flannery [CC BY-SA] via Wikimedia Commons

A listener reports two butterflies, each different from the other, tussling near a flower...

Rainpool Glider

Sep 15, 2020
A rainpool glider
Sandy Bug [CC BY-SA] via Wikimedia Commons

Pantala is a genus of dragonfly in the family Libellulidae commonly called the rainpool gliders. They are found almost worldwide.

Hickory Horned Devil

Sep 14, 2020
A hickory horned devil caterpillar.
Bob Warrick [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The caterpillars for the regal moth are called hickory horned devils. Citheronia regalis, the regal moth or royal walnut moth, is a North American moth in the family Saturniidae.  The adult has a wingspan of 3.75-6.1 inches!

Edisto Island Creatures

Sep 11, 2020
Leafcutter bee (Megachile centuncularis) cutting a leaf
Bernhard Plank - SiLencer [CC BY-SA] via Wikimedia Commons

Some listeners find evidence of Leafcutter Bee and sight a Texas Horned Lizard.

Water Scorpion

Sep 10, 2020
Water Scorpion - Ranatra species, Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area, Aden, Virginia
Judy Gallagher [CC BY] via Wikimedia Commons

Nepidae is a family of exclusively aquatic Heteropteran insects in the order Hemiptera. They are commonly called water scorpions for their superficial resemblance to scorpions, due to their raptorial forelegs and the presence of a long slender process at the posterior end of the abdomen, resembling a tail.


Sep 9, 2020
A red-eyed vireo
Bettina Arrigoni [CC BY]

The red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus) is a small American songbird, 5.1–5.5 in in length. It is somewhat warbler-like but not closely related to the New World warblers (Parulidae). 

Caterpillars of the black swallowtail butterfly
Galukalock, via Wikimedia Commons

Papilio polyxenes, the (eastern) black swallowtail, American swallowtail or parsnip swallowtail, is a butterfly found throughout much of North America.

Green Lynx Spider

Sep 7, 2020
Green lynx spider
Keegan Morrison via Wikimedia Commons

Peucetia viridans, the green lynx spider, is a bright-green lynx spider usually found on green plants. It is the largest North American species in the family Oxyopidae.

Hercules Beetle

Sep 4, 2020
Eastern Hercules beetle
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

Dynastes tityus, the eastern Hercules beetle, is a species of rhinoceros beetle that lives in the Eastern United States.