Biology and Impacts of Pacific Island Invasive Species: Eleutherodactylus coqui, the Coqui Frog (Anura: Leptodactylidae)
The nocturnal, terrestrial frog Eleutherodactylus coqui, known as the Coqui, is endemic to Puerto Rico and was accidentally introduced to Hawai‘i via nursery plants in the late 1980s. Over the past two decades E. coqui has spread to the four main Hawaiian Islands, and a major campaign was launched to eliminate and control it. One of the primary reasons this frog has received attention is its loud mating call (85–90 dB at 0.5 m). Many homeowners do not want the frogs on their property, and their presence has influenced housing prices. In addition, E. coqui has indirectly impacted the floriculture industry because customers are reticent to purchase products potentially infested with frogs. Eleutherodactylus coqui attains extremely high densities in Hawai‘i, up to 91,000 frogs ha, and can reproduce year-round, once every 1–2 months, and become reproductive around 8–9 months. Although the Coqui has been hypothesized to potentially compete with native insectivores, the most obvious potential ecological impact of the invasion is predation on invertebrate populations and disruption of associated ecosystem processes. Multiple forms of control have been attempted in Hawai‘i with varying success. The most successful control available at this time is citric acid. Currently, the frog is established throughout the island of Hawai‘i but may soon be eliminated on the other Hawaiian Islands via control efforts. Eradication is deemed no longer possible on the island of Hawai‘i.
Beard, K.H., E.A. Price*, and W.C. Pitt. 2009. Biology and impacts of Pacific Island invasive species: Eleutherodactylus coqui, the Coqui frog (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Pacific Science 63(3): 297–316. (Invited Submission)