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  Why Are Coqui Frogs a Problem in Hawai'i?
The coqui frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui Thomas (Anura: Leptodactylidae), was accidentally introduced into Hawai'i from Puerto Rico in about 1988. Aside from being a major noise nuisance, the frogs pose a threat to Hawai'i’s island ecosystem. Coqui frogs have a voracious appetite that puts Hawai'i’s unique insects and spiders at risk. They can also compete with endemic birds and other native fauna that rely on insects for food. The frogs are quite adaptable to the different ecological zones and elevations in the state and have been found from sea level to 4,000 feet elevation (at sites in Volcano on Hawai'i). Scientists are also concerned that an established coqui frog population may serve as a readily available food source if (or when) brown tree snakes are accidentally introduced in Hawai'i.

Coqui frogs on Oahu
Click to read the Star-Bulletin article (June 24, 2003)
Coqui populations have exploded in the last 15 years from presumably a single infestation to over 200 on the Big Island alone. They are also present on Maui (40 or more infestations), O`ahu (5 sites) and most recently on Kaua`i (1 site, subject of an eradication effort with citric acid in June 2003). Puerto Rico averages 40 frogs (reproductively mature adults, not including juveniles) per 20 x 20 m plot compared to > 200 in Big Island plots, primarily because of the lack of predators (owls, snakes, tarantulas, scorpions) in Hawai'i.
Eleutherodactylus species distribution in Hawai`i, 1999
Eleutherodactylus coqui distribution and status in Volcano, HI, June 2002 (map credit: HI State Dept. of Agriculture and BIISC)
Eleutherodactylus species distribution in Hawai'i, 1999 (map credit: Kraus et al., 1999) Eleutherodactylus coqui distribution and status in Volcano, Hawai'i, June 2002 (map credit: Hawai'i Dept. of Agriculture and Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) )
Kaua`i: Lawai Coqui Site Population Density (map credit: Kaua`i Invasive Species Committee (KISC) 2007)
Coqui Frog Populations on Maui (map credit: Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) 2007)

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"Hawai`i Island Coqui Frog Reports Coqui Frog Working Group" (map credit: P Graves, C Rygh, BIISC, 2007)
"Confirmed Coqui Frog Locations on O`ahu" (map credit  B Caleda, O`ahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC) , 2007)


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