NatureNotes

Mon-Fri, throughout the day

Naturalist Rudy Mancke, host of ETV's NatureScene, shares his knowledge of plants and wildlife each weekday on NatureNotes. These 1-minute snippets offer you a chance to find out about diverse topics having to do with the natural world. From the inner workings of our world's ecosystems, to plants & animals unique to South Carolina, to tips on beautiful sites to visit, you'll learn more about the world around you on NatureNotes.

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Rainbow Scarab

12 hours ago
A male rainbow scarab
Judy Gallagher [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Phanaeus vindex, the rainbow scarab or rainbow scarab beetle is a North American dung beetle, with a range from the eastern US to the Rocky Mountains. The head is a metallic yellow color, and males have a black horn which curves backward toward the thorax.

Young Snakes

Nov 23, 2020
A juvenile black rat snake
Brad Carlson [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

This time of year in South Carolina there are lots of young snakes out and about. These immature animals often have different markings than mature members of their species.

Long-Tail Skipper

Nov 20, 2020
A long-tailed skipper
Andreas Kay [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus) is a spread-winged skipper butterfly found throughout tropical and subtropical South America, south to Argentina and north into the southern part of the United States of America. It cannot live in areas with prolonged frost. It is a showy butterfly, with wings of light brown tinted with iridescent blue, and two long tails extending from the hindwings. The robust body is light blue dorsally. It has a large head, prominent eyes, and a wingspan between 4.5 and 6 centimeters.

Stinkhorn Mushrooms

Nov 19, 2020
A Column Stinkhorn, Clathrus columnatus.
Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Phallaceae is a family of fungi, commonly known as stinkhorn mushrooms, within the order Phallales. Stinkhorns have a worldwide distribution, but are especially prevalent in tropical regions. They are known for their foul-smelling, sticky spore masses, or gleba, borne on the end of a stalk called the receptaculum.

Heliconius charitonius (zebra longwing butterfly), Florida.
James St. John [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Heliconius charithonia, the zebra longwing or zebra heliconian, is a species of butterfly belonging to the subfamily Heliconiinae of the family Nymphalidae. It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1767 12th edition of Systema Naturae. The boldly striped black and white wing pattern is aposematic, warning off predators.

The species is distributed across South and Central America and as far north as southern Texas and peninsular Florida; there are migrations north into other American states in the warmer months.

Sea Myrtle

Nov 17, 2020
A female groundsel plant, fruiting.
Katja Schulz [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Baccharis halimifolia is a North American species of shrubs in the daisy family. It is native to Nova Scotia, the eastern and southern United States (from Massachusetts south to Florida and west to Texas and Oklahoma), eastern Mexico, the Bahamas, and Cuba

Widely used common names include eastern baccharis, groundsel bush, sea myrtle, and saltbush, with consumption weed, cotton-seed tree, groundsel tree, menguilié, and silverling also used more locally. In most of its range, where no other species of the genus occur, this plant is often simply called baccharis.

Grizzled Mantis

Nov 16, 2020
Grizzled Mantis - Gonatista grisea
Richard Crook [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Gonatista grisea, common name grizzled mantis or lichen mimic, is a species of praying mantis native to the Southern United States, primarily Florida.

Hermit Thrush

Nov 13, 2020
A hermit thrush
Becky Matsubara [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

The hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus) is a medium-sized North American thrush. It is not very closely related to the other North American migrant species of Catharus, but rather to the Mexican russet nightingale-thrush.

Canopy Jumping Spider

Nov 12, 2020
A female canopy jumping spider, Phidippus otiosus, Highlands County, FL
David Hill [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Phidippus otiosus is a species of jumping spider that is found in southeastern North America. It is primarily a tree-living species. Females reach a body length of about 16 mm. Its iridescent fangs can range in color from purple to green.

Leaf-Footed Bug Nymphs

Nov 11, 2020
Leaf-footed bug nymphs
Katja Schulz [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Coreidae is a large family of predominantly sap-suckling insects in the Hemipteran suborder Heteroptera. The Coreidae commonly are oval-shaped, with antennae composed of four segments, numerous veins in the membrane of the fore wings, and externally visible repugnatorial stink glands. Another common name for them is "stink bugs."

Elongate Cannibal Snail

Nov 10, 2020
The elongate cannibal snail is sometimes called the rosy wolf snail.
Dylan Parker (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons

Euglandina rosea, common names the rosy wolfsnail or the cannibal snail, is a species of medium-sized to large predatory air-breathing land snail, a carnivorous terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Spiraxidae. It is an invasive species.

Lampshade Spiders

Nov 9, 2020
Lampshade spider (Hypochilus pococki) at Oconaluftee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Swain County, North Carolina
Kaldari [CC0 1.0] via Flickr

Lampshade spiders, family Hypochilidae, build typical "lampshade" style webs under overhangs and in caves. In the United States, these long-legged spiders are primarily associated with the Appalachian, Rocky and California Mountains.

An eastern box turtle
Jim Lynch, National Park Service [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina), also known as land turtle, is a subspecies within a group of hinge-shelled turtles, normally called box turtles. T. c. carolina is native to the eastern part of the United States.

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.

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