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 South Carolina ETV and South Carolina Public Radio.

A female wolf spider with her babies.
Valerius Geng, via Wikimedia Commons

Once hatched, baby wolf spiders will spend some time riding on their mothers' backs.

"Scrambled Eggs" slime mold.
Norbert Nagel, via Wikimedia Commons

  This mold actually moves in one stage in its life.

Mystery Bone

Jun 22, 2016

A listener finds a mystery bone. Is it a vertebra?

Hercules Club

Jun 21, 2016
Picture of a clump of Hercules Club,Aralia spinosa, taken in Georgia, USA during the summertime.
Richardelainechambers, via Wikimedia Commons

Hercules club, sometimes called prickly ash, is found on the coast of South Carolina. It's leaves are the larval food for the giant swallow tail butterfly.

A white marked tussock moth caterpillar.
Ilona Loser, via Wikimedia Commons

As the name implies, the white-marked tussock caterpillar has a distinctive feature.

A Family of Bard Owls

Jun 16, 2016
A bard owl.
Trish Hartmann

  A listener reports a family of bard owls living his backyard.

Bottlenose Dolphins

Jun 15, 2016

A listener reports seeing a juvenile bottlenose dolphin swimming between two adults.

The nest of an "organ pipe" mud dauber.
Geoff Gallice, via Wikimedia Commons

  A listener breaks open a mud daubers nest and finds--spiders?

A Dobsonfly.
Geoff Gallice, via Wikimedia Commons

  The Dobsonfly, the males in particular, can look pretty intimating at up to five inches from pincers to wing tips.

An eastern glass lizard.
Bert Cash/Flickr

Common in South Carolina, this legless lizard looks a lot like a snake.  

Indian Pink

Jun 9, 2016
Indian pink.
T.G. Barnes/National Forest Service

Indian pink, spigelia marilandica, is a beautiful perennial plant, that flowers in June.

A black rat snake.
Mark Moran/

  If you think it's a black rat snake, but, the markings are a little "off," don't fret. This species has a wide variation in  markings.

Wheel bug nymph.
Patrick Murray/

A listener reports the landing of an unidentified insect--on his arm!

Sweetleaf, symplocos tinctoria, can sometimes have smooth galls which are sometimes mistaken for fruit.

Yellow Rat Snakes

Jun 3, 2016
A yellow rat snake.
Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA, via Wikimedia Commons

A listener sees a common event in an uncommon place: two yellow rat snakes mating on open ground.