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Moths in South Carolina

FILE - Polyphemus moth.
FILE - Polyphemus moth.

South Carolina is home to several species of moths. Rudy Mancke talks about why that's the case.

Transcript (edited for clarity):


Hi, this is Rudy Mancke from USC for NatureNotes.

A while back, Melanie sent me a picture that she needed identified. It turned out to be a male luna moth. And she asked, how many large moths are in the midlands of South Carolina? And really this could apply to other parts of the state, too.

She also had a picture of one of them, other than the luna, called the imperial moth. But we've got a regal moth, we've got a polyphemus moth — the most common promethea moth — a tulip tree moth, and a cecropia moth. And these are the big ones. There are others, but not quite as big as these.

And why is the diversity so great? Because of the larval food plants. Unless you have caterpillar food, you don't have adult moths.

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Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's <i>NatureScene</i>, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, 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. After retiring from SCETV, Rudy went on to become naturalist-in-residence at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. He hosted SC Public Radio's <i>NatureNotes</i> from 1999 until his death in 2023 at age 78.