The coqui frog is established on the Big Island of Hawaii but is not yet established on Oahu.
This article has been updated to reflect the fact that the coqui llanero frog was given protections under the Endangered Species Act in 2012.
The coqui frog (Eleutherdactylus coqui), or common coqui frog native to Puerto Rico, is largely despised in Hawaii, where the species has become established on the Big Island. When a single coqui frog was discovered and captured in the Oahu town of Kailua, agriculture officials seemingly didn’t think it was a big deal because they capture one to two coqui frogs each month, on average.
Two residents reported hearing the frog’s mating call on a single night, and the agriculture department went looking for it and removed it. Officials with the department believe the frog came to Oahu via plants that may have been brought back from the Big Island by area residents. Commercial plants from the Big Island are treated to prevent the spread of the frog on neighboring islands.
The coqui llanero frog, beloved in Puerto Rico but mostly despised in Hawaii due to its high pitched mating call that can often exceed 85-90 decibels (equivalent to the noise of a gas lawnmower), has been making its way onto Oahu from the Big Island, where they became established in the late 1980s.
While the state has tried to eradicate or at least mitigate the populations of coqui frogs on its islands, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing another frog, the coqui llanero frog as an endangered species in 2011, and gave it protections under the Endangered Species Act in 2012. The common coqui frog, which is the frog that has found its way to Hawaii, is a species of Least Concern.