Coqui Frogs In The Big Island

1308 words - 6 pages

Ko-kee, ko-kee... are the mating calls of invasive Coqui frogs who have invaded a majority of the Big Island. These Coqui frogs, also known as Eleutherodactylus coqui are native in Puerto Rico and these small frogs are considered their national animal (Singer et al). Coqui frogs were accidentally introduced to Hawaii during a shipment of plants from Puerto Rico to Hawaii in the late 1980's. Coqui frogs are about 2 inches in length and are usually light brown or gray with a stripe down their back. Over the past two decades E. coqui have spread to the four main Hawaiian Islands and other places such as the Caribbean, Florida, and Louisiana (Singer et al). As of today, the Coquis intensive mating calls can be heard throughout every part of the Big Island during the night. While the Puerto Ricans love the sound of the Coquis, many locals in Hawaii dislike them due to the environmental and economic damages they are creating. Coqui frogs are detriment to Hawaii because they are a serious threat to the native insect population, compete for food with Hawaii's native bird population, and cost residents and businesses millions of dollars each year (McAvoy).
Coqui frogs are harming Hawaii's environment as they begin to reproduce faster than ever. Female coquis can deposit up to 28 eggs every eight weeks (Singer et al). The environment is not able to work efficiently when these little creatures are constantly reproducing. Coqui frogs are a serious threat to native insect population because they are consuming and removing insects from forest floor to treetops (Van Valkenburg). Insects have always been the major food source for birds and with coquis around, they have to compete and search for food. When Coqui frogs feed off of mites, ants, and other bugs they will tend to leave droppings which attract an abundance of flies. The fact that coqui frogs have
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no natural predators to keep the population in check, populations have reached 55,000 frogs per hectare (10,000 square meters) in some Hawaii populations compared to 24,000 frogs per hectare in Puerto Rico (McAvoy). The frogs are quite adaptable to the different surroundings and elevations in the state of Hawaii, they have been found from sea level to 4,000 feet elevation and even at sites in Volcanoes. Also if snakes are accidentally introduced into Hawaii's ecosystem their potential food source would be coqui frogs causing them to thrive in Hawaii since there is already a large quantity of coqui frogs they can eat (Beard et al). Having snakes in Hawaii will lead to rigorous issues concerning the safety of people.
When tourists check into Hawaii resorts, they are usually looking for a peaceful stay with soothing sea sounds, not the piercing mating calls of the coqui frogs from dusk until dawn (Rather). Hotel management is so worried that the frogs will scare away customers since they are capable of intruding into the resort with their quarter sized body (Beard et al). When coqui frogs...

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