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  Identifying Coqui Frogs

Coqui frogs vary in size, color and markings.

The coqui frog is sometimes confused with another invasive Caribbean species, the greenhouse frog, Eleutherodactylus planirostris. The greenhouse frog is a smaller, quieter cousin that lives in similar habitats. Neither species appears to be poisonous. Coqui and greenhouse frogs have other key characteristics used to tell them apart (see poster below). The male coqui’s loud “Ko-KEE” call is easily distinguished from the cricket-like chirping of the greenhouse frog. Both species are nocturnal, usually more vocal from sunset and during rainfall, and the females and juveniles make little, if any, sound. Excellent recordings of coqui and greenhouse calls can be found at the Hawaiian Ecosystems At Risk (HEAR) Project website.

Several people have called to say they found a "HUGE" coqui frog, bigger than any they'd seen before and wondered if it was a new species. Others have reported different colors from almost translucent as a gecko to yellow to orange to red to black with an assortment of patterns, all wondered if they had a new species.  So far, all frogs brought in for positive identification have been the coqui frog or the greenhouse frog (see Identification poster below).

The average size of coqui frogs in Hawaii is likely increasing. Since frogs continue to grow throughout their entire lives (at least 7 years, up to 2 inches snout-to-vent or rear), the older they are, the larger they become.  Coqui frogs have been on the Big Island for nearly 10 years; therefore, a larger proportion of individual frogs are noticeably bigger than they were several years ago. Elevation is another factor known to influence body size. Frogs tend to grow larger at higher elevations compared to lower elevations.

arrow Differences Between Greenhouse Frog and Coqui Frog poster
arrow Diversity of Coqui Frog Morphology



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