Some Hawaiians Becoming Tolerant Of Invasive Coqui Frogs

December 9, 2014

The coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui), a beloved species in its native Puerto Rico and reviled by most in Hawaii where they were introduced, have become a friend so to speak to some on the Big Island, at least according to a study that was just published in the December issue of Biological Conservation. According to the study, in which 85 private properties in 12 communities were measured for coqui frog abundance and their relationship to residents attitudes toward the frogs, some people on the Big Island of Hawaii are beginning to tolerate the frogs and are getting used to the coqui frog and the 90+ decibel frog call it makes nearly every night. 

The study, “A social–ecological systems approach to non-native species: Habituation and its effect on management of coqui frogs in Hawaii,” was conducted by Emily A. Kalnicky. She said that there is a relationship with attitudes of people toward the frog and that of the number of frogs in the vicinity. She said that this was the opposite to what she had initially expected and that people are beginning to tolerate the frogs and the noise that emanates from their little bodies. Kalnicky studied the relationship between humans and coqui frogs in Hawaii for her Ph.D. dissertation in ecology at the Department of Environment and Society and the Ecology Center, Utah State University. 

Coqui frog

Hawaii DLNR

Hawaii has spent millions trying to eradicate the coqui frog in the islands.

The coqui frog was introduced to the Big Island in the 1980s and has since spread to several other islands in the main Hawaiian chain, including Maui, O’ahu, and Kauai. They are deemed a threat to Hawaii’s native bird populations and other animals that eat insects and spiders. There are no known predators of the coqui frog in Hawaii and their populations have exploded in the last 15 years. 

John B. Virata keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 


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