Attack of the Alien Invaders, National Geographic Magazine: Tiny Coqui Frog Assaults Quiet Islands

Graphic picture of small frog sitting on green frond with ridges.

War is waged on the Coqui frog (Eleutherdactylus coqui) because its numbers are exploding and it has no predators. Much revered in its native Puerto Rico, the coqui was at first unnoticed when it was imported on plants. It was soon discovered because although it is the size of a quarter, it has a chirpy call with a decibel level equal to a lawnmower. It made the list of one of the world’s worst 100 invasive alien species.

Lawsuits now force homeowners to disclose if they have the frogs because Hawaiians are so upset by the noise. The community of Pahoa, south of Hilo and near Lava Tree State Park, bought a 10,000-gallon sprayer and is coating the jungle and backyards with hydrated lime, which they hope will curb the number of Coqui. Dr. Arnold Hara, of the University of Hawaii, helped the community apply for funding.

The Coqui frog was able to quickly adapt to Hawaii from its native Puerto Rico and reach unprecedented numbers because of the absence of predators. Its noisy mating behavior has made the Coqui frog the target of government and community eradication and control efforts.

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