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Potter wasp nest

FILE - A potter wasp nest.
FILE - A potter wasp nest.

Rudy Mancke helps a listener identify the distinctively shaped nest of a potter wasp.

Transcript (edited for clarity):


Hi, this is Rudy Mancke from USC for NatureNotes.

Somebody emailed me about a small pot-shaped thing that was stuck to a branch of a plant, and it was a beautifully formed pot. I mean, it was shaped like a pot that a human being would make, like the work of a potter. So guess what you call the wasp that makes it? A potter wasp.

And it's a solitary wasp, which means they just very rarely sting. Once it's built the nest, the female paralyzes a couple of caterpillars, puts them in, lays an egg, and then the caterpillars change into a wasp. Recycling is what we call it. Isn't it an amazing world out there?

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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.