The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Eleutherodactylus coqui
Eleutherodactylus coqui
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Eleutherodactylus coqui Thomas, 1966

Common name: Coqui

Synonyms and Other Names: Puero Rican coqui, coquí común

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: A small, brown or gray-brown, arboreal frog, 33 to 57 mm (1.25-2.25 in) long (Behler and King, 1979; Conant and Collins, 1998; Joglar, 1998; Rivero, 1998; Bartlett and Bartlett, 1999).  Coqui from Florida populations tend to average slightly smaller, typically not exceeding 44.4 mm (1.75 in) (Bartlett and Bartlett, 1999).  Unlike the nonindigenous greenhouse frog, Eleutherodactylus planirostris, eyes are gold, golden-brown, or brown, rather than red, and has toe disks (toepads) for climbing (Conant and Collins, 1998; Joglar, 1998; Rivero, 1998).  May superficially resemble indigenous Floridian hylids (treefrogs).  Dorsal pattern varies considerably ranging from no pattern, to one or two broad cream stripes, v-shaped marks, spots, botches, or an ill-defined pale band or “M” between the shoulders (Conant and Collins, 1998; Joglar, 1998; also illustrated in Bartlett, 1994; Rivero, 1998; Bartlett and Bartlett, 1999; Powell, 1999; Thomas, 2006, and described in Powell et al., 1998).  Call of male coqui is a rapid, loud “ko-KEE” (Bartlett, 1994; Conant and Collins, 1998; Rivero, 1998; Bartlett and Bartlett, 1999; Thomas, 2006), hence its common name.  A recording of the call of the coqui is available on a CD by Rivero (1998) and online (Thomas, 2006).

Size: snout-vent length of 33-57 mm

Native Range: Native to Puerto Rico in a wide variety of habitats and elevations (Schwartz and Thomas, 1975; Schwartz and Henderson, 1985, 1991; Joglar and Burrowes, 1996; Powell et al., 1996; Stewart, 1996; Joglar, 1998; Rivero, 1998; Hedges, 1999; Henderson and Powell, 1999; Powell, 1999; Thomas, 1999).

US auto-generated map Legend USGS Logo
Alaska auto-generated map
Hawaii auto-generated map
Caribbean auto-generated map
Puerto Rico &
Virgin Islands
Guam auto-generated map
Guam Saipan
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Eleutherodactylus coqui are found here.

StateYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
California201220152San Diego; San Gabriel
Florida197320121Florida Southeast Coast
Hawaii199820175Hawaii; Hawaii; Kauai; Maui; Oahu
Virgin Islands197320021St. John-St. Thomas

Table last updated 3/29/2018

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Most introductions are probably the result of horticultural and landscaping imports; many plants provide shelter for both the adult frogs and their eggs (Austin and Schwartz, 1975; Bartlett and Bartlett, 1999; Kraus et al., 1999; Kraus and Campbell, 2002; Thomas, 2006; Woolbright et al., 2006), although some releases in Hawaii are intentional (Kraus et al., 1999; Kraus and Campbell, 2002; Woolbright et al., 2006; F. Kraus, personal communication 2002).

Status: Populations in the U.S. Virgin Islands remain established (Schwarz and Henderson, 1991; Conant and Collins, 1998).

The erroneous Louisiana record is based on two pet coqui, both males, kept in a greenhouse for 2-3 years until killed off by a winter freeze (Dundee, 1991).  They never escaped confinement, and certainly did not produce an established population; yet coqui are still listed as occurring in New Orleans (Conant and Collins, 1998). 

Populations in Miami-Dade County, Florida, persist and are limited to areas in and around a few greenhouses (Loftus and Herndon, 1984; Ashton and Ashton, 1988; Bartlett, 1994; Bartlett and Bartlett, 1999; Meshaka et al., 2004).  Those coqui outside the greenhouses tend to die off during winter freezes and those once found at the Fairchild Tropical Gardens are now suspected extirpated (Wilson and Porras, 1983; Ashton and Ashton, 1988; Bartlett and Bartlett, 1999).  It is not known if the Florida populations are self-sustaining or replenished through new horticultural plantings (Bartlett and Bartlett, 1999); thus, Butterfield et al. (1997) question listing E. coqui as an established, nonindigenous species.  (Also see Meshaka et al. 2004). 

Numerous populations of coqui in Hawaii are established, and highly invasive; a variety of methods are being used to monitor and eradicate these rapidly spreading frogs (Kraus et al., 1999; Kraus and Campbell, 2002; Thomas, 2006; Woolbright et al., 2006).  Efforts to strictly legislate and eradicate nonindigenous herpetofauna in Hawaii have been met with some strident, self-serving resistance from individuals associated with the pet trade and amateur herpetoculture (McKeown, 1998; Vivarium Staff, 1998; Walls, 1998).

Impact of Introduction: Impact of E. coqui in the U.S. Virgin Islands remains unknown, but due to the similarity in fauna and habitat, so relatively close to their native range and ecology, Kraus et al. (1999) expect few problems. The few Florida populations are clearly noninvasive, and lead a tenuous existence.  Hawaii has no native frogs.  Hawaiian populations of these insectivores are invasive and spreading rapidly (Kraus et al., 1999; Woolbright et al., 2006). Coqui could potentially eat indigenous, endemic arthropods, including species of insects and spiders close to extinction (Kraus et al., 1999). This also could have a negative impact on indigenous insectivorous birds that may be forced to compete with E. coqui for food (Kraus et al., 1999; Thomas, 2006).  Nutrient flow through the native food web may be disrupted, and coqui may serve as a source of food for nonindigenous, invasive predators (Kraus, 1999; Woolbright et al., 2006). Woolbright et al. (2006) found no effective predators of coqui in Hawaii and only recorded a single instance of predation by the rodent, Rattus rattus. Anthropocentric concerns include the disruption caused by their loud calls. In Hawaii residents have lost sleep, tourists have lodged complaints with hotels, and residents may have difficulty selling infested property or experience weaker property values (Kraus et al., 1999; Kraus and Campbell, 2002; Thomas, 2006). Woolbright et al. (2006), recorded sound pressure levels of calling male coqui in eastern Hawaii Island (Big Island) up to 73 dB. Further anthropocentric concerns are discussed in detail by Kraus and Campbell (2002).

In their native Puerto Rico, populations in cloud forests are on the decline, while those populations found in other habitats remain stable (Joglar and Burrowes, 1996).

Remarks: The taxonomy and taxonomic placement of coqui is reviewed in Frost (2000) and Frost et al. (2006). Over the years E. coqui in their native range have been the subject of a wide variety studies dealing with ecology, behavior and reproduction (Townsend and Mogler, 1987; Woolbright and Stewart, 1987; Townsend, 1989; Woolbright, 1989; Stewart, 1995, 1996; Fogarty and Vilella, 2002; Beard et al., 2003; reviewed in Henderson and Powell, 1999).

These arboreal frogs are highly fecund and can exist in fairly large densities (Stewart, 1995; Joglar, 1998; Kraus et al., 1999; Kraus and Campbell, 2002). Near the Hilo area of eastern Hawaii Island (Big Island), population densities of E. coqui are three times higher than those in their native Puerto Rico (Woolbright et al., 2006). Coqui may reach the ground from their arboreal perches by parachuting (Stewart, 1985).  To attract a mate, males call to females with the greater mating advantage going to the males with the highest call rates (Townsend and Stewart, 1986a; Lopez, 1996). Calls also are used in aggressive encounters (Stewart and Rand, 1991, 1992).  Fertilization is internal; development is direct with well-developed neonate frogs hatching from eggs in vegetation without any aquatic tadpole stage (Townsend et al., 1981; Townsend and Stewart, 1985, 1986b; Townsend, 1996).  Males brood eggs in an elevated, sheltered spot such as a cavity or a bromeliad (Taigen et al., 1984; Townsend et al., 1984; Townsend, 1986, 1996).  In Hawaii, E. coqui supplement their shelter sites and nesting sites by making extensive use of subterranean passages and galleries within the porous lava substrate (Woolbright et al., 2006).

There is current concern that E. coqui may be transported to Guam and become established in the same fashion as the closely related greenhouse frog, E. planirostris (Hurley, 2003).  See the species account titled “Eleutherodactylus planirostris (Cope, 1862)” on this website.

Everman and Klawinski (2013) examined the population genetics and disperal patterns of Coqui populations on Hawai'i Island, finding no relationship between genetic and geographic distance and suggesting that the jump-dispersal pattern exhibited by this species is accomplished through human-mediated assistance.

References: (click for full references)

Ashton, R. E., Jr., and P. S. Ashton. 1988. Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida. Part Three. The Amphibians. Windward Publishing, Inc., Miami. 191 pp.

Austin, D. F., and A. Schwartz. 1975. Another exotic amphibian in Florida, Eleutherodactylus coqui. Copeia 1975(1):188.

Bartlett, R. D. 1994. Florida’s alien herps.  Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (27):56-73, 103-109.

Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999. A Field Guide to Florida Reptiles and Amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston. 280 pp.

Beard, K. H., S. McCullough, and A. K. Eschtruth. 2003. Quantitative assessment of habitat preferences for the Puerto Rican terrestrial frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui. Journal of Herpetology 37(1):10-17.

Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York. 743 pp.

Butterfield, B. P., W. E. Meshaka, Jr., and C. Guyer. 1997. Nonindigenous amphibians and reptiles.  Pp. 123-138. In: D. Simberloff, D. C. Schmitz, and T. C. Brown (editors). Strangers in Paradise. Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida. Island Press, Washington, D. C. 467 pp.

Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians. Eastern and Central North America. Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 450 pp.

Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians. Eastern and Central North America. Third Edition, Expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 616 pp.

Dalrymple, G. H. 1994. Non-indigenous amphibians and reptiles in Florida. Pp. 67-78. In: D. C. Schmitz and T. C. Brown (editors). An Assessment of Invasive Non-indigenous Species in Florida’s Public Lands. Division of Environmental Resource Permitting, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Technical Report No. TSS-94-100, Tallahassee. 303 pp.

Dundee, H. A. 1991. When is an introduction not an introduction? Herpetological Review 22(4):122.

Everman, E., and P. Klawinski. 2013. Human-facilitated jump dispersal of a non-native frog species on Hawai'i Island. Journal of Biogeography 40:1961-1970. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jbi.12146/abstract.

Fogarty, J. H., and F. J. Vilella. 2002. Population dynamics of Eleutherodactylus coqui in Cordillera Forest reserves of Puerto Rico. Journal of Herpetology 36(2):193-201.

Frost, D. [R.] (compiler). 2000. Anura¬—frogs. Pp. 6-17. In: B. I. Crother (chair), and Committee on Standard English and Scientific Names (editors). Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular (29):i-iii, 1-82.

Frost, D. R., T. Grant, J. Faivovich, R. H. Bain, A. Haas, C. F. B. Haddad, R. O. De Sá, A. Channing, M. Wilkinson, S. C. Donnellan, C. J. Raxworthy, J. A. Campbell, B. L. Blotto, P. Moler, R. C. Drewes, R. A. Nussbaum, J. D. Lynch, D. M. Green, and W. C. Wheeler. 2006. The amphibian tree of life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297:1-370 + Fig. 50 foldout.

Hedges, S. B. 1999. Distribution patterns of amphibians in the West Indies. Pp. 211-254. In: W. E. Duellman (editor). Patterns of Distribution of Amphibians. A Global Perspective. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 633 pp.

Henderson, R. W., and R. Powell. 1999. West Indian herpetoecology. Pp. 223-268. In: B. I. Crother (editor). Caribbean Amphibians and Reptiles. Academic Press, San Diego. 495 pp.

Hurley, T. 2003. Frog find fuels snake concern. HonoluluAdvertiser.com [online] 2003(12 November). Available on URL: http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/Nov/12/ln/ln09a.html.

Joglar, R. L. 1998. Los Coquíes de Puerto Rico. Su Historia Natural y Conservación. Editorial de las Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan. 232 pp.

Joglar, R. L., and P. A. Burrowes. 1996. Declining amphibian populations in Puerto Rico. Pp. 371-380. In: R. Powell and R. W. Henderson (editors). Contributions to West Indian Herpetology. A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. Contributions to Herpetology 12. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca. 475 pp.

Joglar, R. L., and N. Rios-López. 1998. Geographic distribution: Eleutherodactylus coqui (Puerto Rican coqui). Dominican Republic: Districto Nacional. Herpetological Review 29(2):107.

King, F. W. 2006. Checklist of Florida Amphibians and Reptiles [online]. Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville. Available on URL: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herps/FL-GUIDE/Flaherps.htm.

Kraus, F. 2002. Personal communication—Zoologist, Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Kraus, F., and E. W. Campbell III. 2002. Human-mediated escalation of a formerly eradicable problem: The invasion of Caribbean frogs in the Hawaiian Islands. Biological Invasions 4(3):327-332.

Kraus, F., E. W. Campbell, A. Allison, and T. Pratt. 1999. Eleutherodactylus frog introductions to Hawaii. Herpetological Review 30(1):21-25.

Loftus, W. E., and R. Herndon. 1984. Reestablishment of the coqui, Eleutherodactylus coqui Thomas, in southern Florida. Herpetological Review 15(1):23.

Lopez, P. T. 1996. Mate selection in the Puerto Rican frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui. Pp. 241-250. In: R. Powell and R. W. Henderson (editors). Contributions to West Indian Herpetology. A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. Contributions to Herpetology 12. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca. 475 pp.

McCann, J. A., L. N. Arkin, and J. D. Williams. 1996. Nonindigenous Aquatic and Selected Terrestrial Species in Florida. Status, Pathways, Dates of Introduction, Range Distributions, and Significant Ecological and Economic Effects. Florida Caribbean Science Center, U. S. Geological Survey, Gainesville. 301 pp.

McCoid, M. J., and C. Kleberg. 1995. Non-native reptiles and amphibians. Pp. 433-437. In: E. T. LaRoe, G. S. Farris, C. E. Puckett, P. D. Doran, and M. J. Mac (editors). Our Living Resources: A Report to the Nation on the Distribution, Abundance, and Health of U. S. Ecosystems. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Service, Washington, D. C. 530 pp.

McKeown, S. 1998. Notes on a newly established frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui, in the Hawaiian Islands. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 33(2):30-31.

Meshaka, W. E., Jr., B. P. Butterfield, and J. B. Hauge. 2004.  The Exotic Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida. 166 pp.

Moler, P. 1988. A Checklist of Florida’s Amphibians and Reptiles. Nongame Wildlife Program, Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Tallahassee. 18 pp.

Powell, R. 1999. Legends to color plates.  Pp. xxi-xxx, plate 5. In: B. I. Crother (editor). Caribbean Amphibians and Reptiles. Academic Press, San Diego. 495 pp.

Powell, R., J. T. Collins, and E. D. Hooper, Jr. 1998. A Key to Amphibians & Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence. 131 pp.

Powell, R., R. W. Henderson, K. Adler, and H. A. Dundee. 1996. An annotated checklist of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Pp. 51-91, plates 1-8. In: R. Powell and R. W. Henderson (editors). Contributions to West Indian Herpetology. A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. Contributions to Herpetology 12. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca. 475 pp.

Rivero, J. A. 1998. Los Anfibios y Reptiles de Puerto Rico. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Puerto Rico. Segunda Edición Revisada. Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan. 510 pp. + CD.

Schwartz, A., and R. W. Henderson. 1985. A Guide to the Identification of the Amphibians and reptiles of the West Indies Exclusive of Hispaniola. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee. 165 pp.

Schwartz, A., and R. W. Henderson. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies: Descriptions, Distributions, and Natural History. University of Florida Press, Gainesville. 720 pp.

Schwartz, A., and R. Thomas. 1975. A check-list of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Carnegie Museum of Natural History Special Publication (1):1-216.

Smith, H. M., and A. J. Kohler. 1978. A survey of herpetological introductions in the United States and Canada. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 1977 80(1-2):1-24.

Stewart, M. M. 1985. Arboreal habitat use and parachuting by a subtropical forest frog. Journal of Herpetology 19:391-401.

Stewart, M. M. 1995. Climate driven population fluctuations in rain forest frogs. Journal of Herpetology 29:437-446.

Stewart, M. M. 1996. Long-term study of activity patterns of Puerto Rican rain forest frogs. Pp. In: R. Powell and R. W. Henderson (editors). Contributions to West Indian Herpetology. A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. Contributions to Herpetology 12. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca. 475 pp.

Stewart, M. M., and A. S. Rand. 1991. Vocalizations and the defense of retreat sites by male and female frogs, Eleutherodactylus coqui. Copeia 1991(4):1013-1024.

Stewart, M. M., and A. S. Rand. 1992. Diel variation in the use of aggressive calls by the frog Eleutherodactylus coqui. Herpetologica 48(1):49-56.

Taigen, T. L., F. H. Pough, and M. M. Stewart. 1984. Water balance of terrestrial anuran (Eleutherodactylus coqui) eggs: Importance of parental care. Ecology 65(1):248-255.

Thomas, P. [A.] 2006. Alien Species in Hawaii [online]. Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) Project, Halenkala Field Station, U. S. Geological Survey, Maui. Available on URL: http://www.hear.org/AlienSpeciesIn Hawaii/index.html.

Thomas, R. 1999. The Puerto Rican area. Pp. 169-179. In: B. I. Crother (editor). Caribbean Amphibians and Reptiles. Academic Press, San Diego. 495 pp.

Townsend, D. S. 1986. The cost of male parental care and its evolution in a neotropical frog. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology19:187-195.

Townsend, D. S. 1989. The consequences of microhabitat choice for male reproductive success in a tropical frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui). Herpetologica 45(4):451-458.

Townsend, D. S. 1996. Patterns of parental care in frogs of the genus Eleutherodactylus. Pp. 229-239. In: R. Powell and R. W. Henderson (editors). Contributions to West Indian Herpetology. A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. Contributions to Herpetology 12. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca. 475 pp.

Townsend, D. S., and W. H. Moger. 1987. Plasma androgen levels during male parental care in a tropical frog. Hormones and Behavior 21:93-99.

Townsend, D. S., and M. M. Stewart. 1985. Direct development in Eleutherodactylus coqui (Anura: Leptodactylidae): A staging table. Copeia 1985(2):423-436.

Townsend, D. S., and M. M. Stewart. 1986a. Courtship and mating behavior of a Puerto Rican frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui. Herpetologica 42(2):165-170.

Townsend, D. S., and M. M. Stewart. 1986b. The effect of temperature on direct development in a terrestrial-breeding, neotropical frog. Copeia 1986(2):520-523.

Townsend, D. S., M. M. Stewart, and F. H. Pough. 1984. Male parental care and its adaptive significance in a neotropical frog. Animal Behaviour 32:421-431.

Townsend, D. S., M. M. Stewart, F. H. Pough, and P. F. Brussard. 1981. Internal fertilization in an oviparous frog. Science 212:469-471.

Vivarium Staff. 1998. Hawaii’s war on herps. Vivarium 6(6):6, 8, 17, 61.

Walls, J. G. 1998. Say goodbye to Jackson’s chameleons? Reptile Hobbyist 4(3):92-93.

Wilson, L. D., and L. Porras. 1983. The ecological impact of man on the South Florida herpetofauna. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Special Publication (9):i-vi, 1-89.

Woolbright, L. L. 1989. Sexual dimorphism in Eleutherodactylus coqui: Selection pressures and growth rates. Herpetologica 45(1):68-74.

Woolbright, L. L., A. H. Hara, C. M. Jacobsen, W. L. Mautz, and F. L. Benevides, Jr. 2006. Population densities of the coquí, Eleutherodactylus coqui (Anura: Leptodactylidae) in newly invaded Hawaii and in native Puerto Rico. Journal of Herpetology 40(1):122-126.

Woolbright, L. L., and M. M. Stewart. 1987. Foraging success of the tropical frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui: The cost of calling. Copeia 1987(1):69-75.

Author: Louis A. Somma, and Matthew Neilson

Revision Date: 9/23/2013

Citation Information:
Louis A. Somma, and Matthew Neilson, 2018, Eleutherodactylus coqui Thomas, 1966: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=60, Revision Date: 9/23/2013, Access Date: 4/19/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/19/2018].

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