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.

Contact Rudy Mancke through Program Director John Gasque.

Ways to Connect

An Eastern Lubber grasshopper.
Derrickchapman,, via Wikimedia Commons

    A listener reports the yearly visits of the Eastern Lubber grasshoppers to her yard.

Moth Rescue

Jul 21, 2016
Imperial Moth
Lizmillea, from Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds a moth laying eggs in a dangerous place and attempts a rescue.

"Camo" Wings

Jul 20, 2016
Ilia Underwing Moth
John B./Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons

The overwings of an Illia Underwing moth can cover the underwings to help it blend in with its surroundings.

The pupa of some moths pupate in the ground.


Jul 18, 2016
Green Lynx Spider
Keegan Morrison via Wikimedia Commons

Listeners report sightings of green lynx and trapdoor spiders.


Strange-Looking Bug

Jul 15, 2016
A Wheel Bug
Ragesoss via Wikimedia Commons

Adult Wheel Bugs are good to have in your garden, because they love to feed on caterpillars.

Witch Hazel Aphid galls.
John Cooper, via Wikimedia Commons

As you might guess, the Witch Hazel Aphid causes galls to grow only on that plant.

An Island of Birds

Jul 13, 2016

  A listener reports a variety of bird species, all nesting on the same island.

A Tamarisk tree in Israel.
Ian Scott, via Wikimedia Commons

  The Tamarisk tree is sometimes called the "Salt Cedar" or the "Fire Cedar," and originated in the Mediterranean.

Midland Water Snake, Lancaster, SC, 2004
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

  A listener renovating an old pool find some snakes. Theses Midland Water Snakes are non-venomous, and the listener plans on re-locating them.

Oxidus gracilis, the greenhouse millipede, is native to Asia, but now found all over the world as an invasive species (thanks largely to imported greenhouse plants, hence the name). This one was found in the woods in Maryland, summer of 2006.
Matt Reinbold, via Wikimedia Commons

A listener reports finding millipede each morning on the outside of his house.

Snakes in the Pool

Jul 7, 2016

  A Lexington listener finds two species of snakes in his pool.

An Intricate Bird Nest

Jul 6, 2016
This small Blue-gray Gnatcatcher nest from the previous season was found on the ground at the Beltsville Agriculture Research Center. The nest is made of lichens, hair and spiderwebs.
Hannah Sutton/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, Maryland

  The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher uses lichens as some of its nest-building materials. The lichens offer a natural camouflage.

Birds Under the Bridge

Jul 5, 2016
Cliff swallows nesting under a bridge.
Marlin Harms, via Wikimedia Commons

  The cliff swallows have evolved into sometime-users of man-made objects, like bridges, as places to make their amazing nests of mud.

The larva of a lacewing butterfly. The dead carcasses of its prey together with its molts and dirt is massed on its body to camouflage.

What in the world is that fuzzy thing crawling by?  It's the larva of the lacewing butterfly, practicing some clever camouflague.

Wood Stork perched on tree at the marsh lands of Florida.
Paul Brennan

A visitor to South Carolina spots a big bird with a long beak perched in a pine tree and wants to know what it is.

Flowers of the sourwood tree
Jim Conrad [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  Sourwood is a native species that is widespread. And, its flowers are beautiful!

Eastern Painted Turtle

Jun 29, 2016
Eastern painted turtle
Greg Schechter, via Wikimedia Commons

  A listener saves a turtle in North Carolina, but, doesn't recognize the species.

A "Whopper" of a Snake

Jun 28, 2016
Brown Water Snake via Wikimedia Commons

  Is it a canebrake rattler, or a cotton mouth? Whatever it is, it's big!

Saving a Hummingbird

Jun 27, 2016

  A listener shares the story of how he rescued a hummingbird.