Nature

Content about nature

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/www.fcps.edu

  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/bugguide.net

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.

Mole Kingsnake

Jun 2, 2016
A mature mole kingsnake.
virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com

The mole kingsnake is found throughout the southeastern United States and Mid-Atlantic States, but is absent from the Appalachian Mountains.

The "string thing" on the window pane turns out to be bug eggs that soon hatch.

Carolina Anoles

May 31, 2016
A Carolina anole trying to intimidate its reflection.
ronardios/Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons

  Carolina anoles are common in the state. If a male meets another male, they are likely to "display" by raising the ridges on their backs.

Beware the Bristly Caterpillar

May 31, 2016

"Bristly" caterpillars, like the one for the buck moth, often sting with those bristles.

Snowbells

May 30, 2016
Snowbell, styrax platanifolius
Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

One way to identify this shrub is by its large leaf.

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Last year, I got to visit Savage Bay Heritage Preserve with a group led by Naturalist Austin Jenkins. We started in the sandiest sandhill setting imaginable, all black jack, blue jack and turkey oaks, but as we descended a slope and veered off to the left, we found ourselves in a sunny open area with pond cypress dotted all around.

A giant water bug.
Brett Hondow/Pixabay

No, it's not "a roach with grabbers." It's a giant water bug, and it's the largest true bug in South Carolina.

The oak hedgehog gall on White Oak (Quercus alba) leaf, caused by a Cynipid gall wasp, is one of the many types of galls that are created when various species of wasps lay eggs on oaks.
Bruce Marlin, via Wikimedia Commons

Galls are created in plant tissue due to the powerful enzymes given off by an immature gall-forming insect as it grows.

Pepper vine with fruit.
USchick, via Wikimedia Commons

The pepper vine is common in South Carolina. While the fruit seems to be useful for some wildlife, it's not something you'd want to try.

The Softshell Turtle Has a Wide Range

May 23, 2016
Gulf Coast Spiny Softshell Turtle
James Harding/biokids.umich.edu

A listener finds a Gulf Coast spiny softshell turtle. These turtles have a wide range: South Carolina, west to Texas and north up the Missouri River system to Montana and the Dakotas, then east to western New York. They are found throughout the state South Carolina and in Georgia except in the mountains and south-central portions of the Coastal Plain.

A listener in Spartanburg sees a water snake catch its prey, a bullfrog, on the Cottonwood Trail.

The Southern Unstriped Scorpion, vaejovis carolinianus.
Sesamehoneytart, via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, you can find the Southern Unstriped Scorpion in South Carolina.

A Killdeer with its nest and eggs.
Mykola Swarnyk, via Wikimedia Commons

  A listener spots a bird which nests and lays its eggs on the ground, then stands guard.

  A listener shares a count of the bird species in the Rock Creek area of Great Falls.

Privet in flower.
Bidgee, via Wikimedia Commons

  Privet has flowers with a beautiful smell. But, it takes over wherever it grows, crowding out native species.

An eastern king snake.
Paul/Flickr

Aside from being a powerful constrictor, the eastern king snake is resistant to the venom of all poisonous snakes found in South Carolina, and will actually eat one!

Tulip Trees

May 12, 2016
A tulip tree in bloom.
EricaMaxine/Pixabay

The tulip tree is sometimes called "tulip poplar," though it's actually related to the magnolia.

Snake vs. Toad

May 11, 2016
Eastern garter snake, Florida.
Glenn Bartolotti via Wikimedia Commons

Eastern garter snakes are common in South Carolina. With their flexible jaws, they can eat some fairly large prey.

An Unexpected Gift

May 10, 2016
Polyphemus Moth
Organic, via Wikimedia Commons

  A grandfather gives his granddaughter a cocoon from which emerges a moth with much larger wings than she expected.

A wood duck box.
Rusty Clark/Flickr

A listener finds rat snakes in his wood duck box, in spite of all precautions.

    

Mud Daubers

May 7, 2016
Organ Pipe Mud Dauber nest in barn near Elijah Oliver Place - Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Jay Sturner/Flickr

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Every year, my dear husband has to get mud dauber nests out of my free-standing sprinklers. Mud daubers construct a variety of nests of different shapes and sizes in which to rear their young. The most attractive and noteworthy are the organ pipe mud dauber nests. If you open a nest, you’ll find paralyzed spiders or insects inside. The female stings her prey, and places several victims in a nest, before laying an egg. The developing larva eats the immobile but still living and fresh food.

Rosy Maple Moths

May 6, 2016
A rosy maple moth on a pane of glass in Durham, NC.
Rhododendrites, via Wikimedia Commons

The rosy maple moth is one of the most beautiful moths in South Carolina.

Yellow Jackets

May 6, 2016

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you have friends who mow large areas, you know how dangerous underground yellow jacket nests can be to those persons. Yellow jackets, like most other social insects, overwinter as fertilized queens who begin the process of constructing a paper nests from scratch as spring arrives. The adults feed on nectar and fruit (one reason people often plant orchards away from their houses) but feed the young with partially digested invertebrates.

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