Photographer: Unknown Affiliation: USDA Forest Service Source: Bugwood.org Copyright: (CC BY-NC 3.0 US)
The coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) is a small 1.25-2.25 inch arboreal amphibian with brown to gray coloring. The coqui frog may resemble other native frog species found in Florida, but differs in the presence of toe discs for climbing and various markings on the dorsal side. Dorsal markings can vary from barely visible to cream markings, or spots. The namesake of the coqui frog comes from the sound the male produces when courting females with the syllables "ko-KEE" articulated at a rapid rate.
The ecological impacts of the coqui frog in many areas are not well known. There are no native frog species in Hawaii, so the lack of natural predators could amplify the impact coqui frogs could have on arthropods. In Florida there are native frog species, which could be negatively affected by the invasive coqui frogs.
Coqui frogs are highly fecund, with breeding occurring from May to September, and known to live in high densities. Coqui frogs have direct development beginning with internal fertilization. Juvenile coqui frogs don't have a tadpole stage and emerge from eggs as smaller versions of the parent (direct development). Males complete egg brooding in sheltered areas or the original brooding site.
Coqui frogs were introduced to Florida in the 1970's accidentally with imported ornamental trees that provided shelter and habitat for the invasive frogs. Coqui frogs were believed to be introduced to Hawaii by means of pet release followed by establishment due to ideal environmental conditions and consistent temperatures.
U.S. Present: FL, HI
U.S. Habitat: Coqui frogs prefer arboreal habitats (in trees) with climates that remain warm and remain consistent because the frogs aren't able to tolerate temperatures near freezing. Males are able to parachute down from trees and call to females from the ground. Females select for males with the greatest call rates.
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Beard, K. H., S. McCullough, and A. K. Eschtruth. 2003. Quantitative assessment of habitat preferences for the Puerto Rican terrestrial frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui. Journal of Herpetology 37(1):10-17.
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Loftus, W. E., and R. Herndon. 1984. Reestablishment of the coqui, Eleutherodactylus coqui Thomas, in southern Florida. Herpetological Review 15(1):23.
Stewart, M. M. 1985. Arboreal habitat use and parachuting by a subtropical forest frog. Journal of Herpetology 19:391-401.