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Coqui (Eleutherodactylus coqui)

Species Detail

First year: 1973

Extirpated year: 

Established status: Species are present and breeding but for less than 10 years.

Estimated Florida range: One county for at least 10 years

Statewide trend: Unknown status

Threats to natives: None known.

Species Account: This small, secretive, leptodactylid frog is native to Puerto Rico, where it typically shelters in leaf axils, litter, tree cavities, and bromeliads. Individuals typically measure less than 5 cm (2 in) long. The body is grayish brown, tan, or rich brown and may or may not have a pattern and light dorsolateral stripe. This species has large toepads and is a good climber, but it is typically found fairly close to the ground (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). Coquis are very active at night but hide in rock piles, bromeliads, or beneath ground debris during the day, except on rainy ones. Males frequently give "co-qui" calls at night, and they attend the 1-2 dozen eggs that are laid in terrestrial situations. The coqui was introduced in southern Florida, primarily in Dade County, several times (King and Krakauer 1996) but did not become established until it was introduced at Fairchild Tropical Garden in South Miami in 1973 (Austin and Schwartz 1975). This population was apparently extirpated by a severe freeze in January 1977 (Wilson and Porras 1983), but another population was established in 1976 at a Homestead nursery that imported bromeliads from Puerto Rico (Loftus and Herndon 1984). Populations occur at several nurseries in the Homestead area, but they apparently cannot disperse naturally from these nurseries because of susceptibility to droughts and freezes (Loftus and Herndon 1984). These populations may not be self-sustaining but instead dependent upon new arrivals in bromeliad shipments (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).

Habitats: Low density suburban development, areas peripheral to core urban areas, and small towns

County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding Status Notes
Dade 1973 At least 10 years South Miami (Austin and Schwartz 1975)


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

Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999. A field guide to Florida reptiles and amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas. 278pp.

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

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 No. 9. 89pp.

Links to more information

Biological Invasions/Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Back to Nonnative Amphibians