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Caribbean frogs

Caribbean frogs

Eleutherodactylus coqui and Eleutherodactylus planirostris (Leptodactylidae)

Two species of small brown Caribbean frogs of the large neotropical genus Eleutherodactylus were introduced into Hawaii in 1988. Both species are widespread in the state. Eleutherodactylus coqui is commonly called the "coqui"; people often refer to Eleutherodactylus planirostris as the "greenhouse frog." Both frogs probably arrived in Hawaii via infested nursery materials, and continue to be spread throughout the state in this way. This method of dispersal for these and related species is well-documented throughout the Caribbean region as well. However, here in Hawaii, with no predators or disease to keep their numbers in check, these frogs may reach higher population densities than they do in their native Puerto Rico. Severe problems could arise from their presence in Hawaii.

These frogs may exert a tremendous predation pressure on a wide array of native invertebrates, including insects, spiders, and snails, many of which are already stressed to the edge of extinction.

By removing a large percentage of the insect prey base, these frogs would likely have a large indirect effect on the O'ahu 'elepaio, a native insect-eating bird federally listed as "endangered."

The incessant loud calling of these frogs has reportedly disrupted people's ability to sleep at night on many occasions.

Concern has been expressed that the coqui's noise may reduce property values and/or sale-ability of properties as people try to vacate areas infested with frogs.

Presence of these frogs may interfere with the marketability/exporting of products of infested nurseries.

These frogs may serve as a food source for rats and mongoose, allowing these predators to reach even higher densities than occur now, thereby increasing the predation pressure these alien mammals exert on Maui's native birds, tree snails, and plants.

These frogs serve as a potential food source for any snake species that may become established on Maui in the future, thereby making it easier for snakes to maintain high population densities (as has occurred with the brown tree snake on Guam).

For more information about Caribbean frogs and MISC's efforts to control it, check out MISC's January 2007 Maui News column PDF icon.

coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui)
coqui frog
(Eleutherodactylus coqui)

More information on Caribbean frogs:

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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) project is currently funded by the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) through PIERC (USGS) with support from HCSU (UH-Hilo). More details are available online. Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII)

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This page was created on 05 June 2003 by PT, and was last updated on 06 Febuary 2007 by LF. The source material for the content of this page was provided to HEAR by MISC. Valid HTML 4.01!