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Two Coqui Frogs Captured on Oahu in Hawaii

The Coqui frog has become established on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture captured two coqui frogs (Eleutherodactylus Sp.), on the island of Oahu earlier this month, one in Kalihi Valley and another on hotel grounds in Waikiki. The frogs, which are an invasive species, have become established on the Big Island, but have not yet gained a foothold on Oahu. According to the Star Advertiser, a hotel grounds worker discovered a frog on newly installed landscaping and called agricultural inspectors who went out and captured the frog. The second frog was found in Kalihi Valley when a resident called the department, saying that he had been hearing the frog for months but did not bother to call.




The coqui frog, like most invasive species in Hawaii, has no natural predators and the warm weather likely promotes breeding year round. The state department of agriculture says that some areas of the Big Island have more than 10,000 frogs per acre. And this many frogs can eat 50,000 insects each night. These frogs could endanger native Hawaiian insect populations and can compete with native Hawaiian birds. The frog has been found at sea level to heights of 4,000 feet on the Big Island. On O’ahu, in addition to Waikiki and Kalihi Valley, the frog has previously been found in five areas of the island; Wahiawa, the Home Depot at Iwilei, Haleiwa, Waimanalo, and Kahaluu.

The coqui frog is beloved in Puerto Rico where it is a native species but is 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). The frog has been making its way onto O’ahu from the Big Island, where they became established in the late 1980s.

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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 the Puerto Rican coqui llanero tree frog (Eleutherodactylus juanariveroi) as an endangered species last year. So while it is invasive in Hawaii, it is scarce in Puerto Rico.

In 2007, the Hawaii Department of Education sponsored a coqui frog killing contest, training students on how to capture and kill these amphibians. Prizes included iPods and xBox 360s to the school with the most number of killed coqui frogs.