Invasive frog “picked the wrong yard” to invade

  • 21 January 2020
  • Author: Frederika Bain
  • Number of views: 1533

Dan Rubinoff of the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences was interviewed by KHON after finding a coqui frog on his Mānoa property. Being an expert in invasive species, Dan was able to easily identify the loudly calling pest, though he initially wondered if he was right, since it’s never been discovered in Mānoa before. He captured the frog and alerted the authorities.

As Dan points out, although they’re not established on O‘ahu, coqui do arrive on the island from time to time, so “We have to fight back every time. As soon as someone is not willing to fight back or says No, I want them in my yard or I’m not letting you in here to control them, we lose.”

Losing means getting as overrun as the Big Island is, which is full of the tiny frogs with the huge voices. Their mating call, which is usually heard at night, reaches almost 90 decibels, just slightly less than a power mower and well within the threshold of hearing damage. Hawai‘i Island has three times as many coqui frogs as in their native Puerto Rico, since there are no natural predators.

Anyone who hears or sees a coqui should call the Department of Agriculture at 643-PEST (7378). “Everybody should be listening for the coqui, even if it’s a place you haven’t heard it before, even if it’s at your house,” Dan warns. “It can arrive anywhere, and we need to be able to respond quickly. You should definitely report it as soon as possible so they can get right on that. Otherwise, we could end up like Big Island.”