Coqui Frog Found on Molokai Again
MoMISC News Release
On Wednesday, June 20, Molokai/Maui Invasive Species Committee (MoMISC) staff responded to a report from a private residence of a possible coqui frog and confirmed that it was coqui. Coqui frogs in Hawaii are highly invasive and have negative impacts to human health and our environment. MoMISC has responded to 121 reports of possible coqui over the years and out of that, the organization has controlled seven frogs total, preventing a naturalized population.
Coqui frogs are spread primarily by people. There are many pathways by which coqui frogs get to Molokai. In 2001, a coqui frog arrived in shipment of plants for resale from a nursery outside Molokai. In 2007, a coqui frog arrived in roofing material from a big box store outside of Molokai. In 2010, a frog again came in a shipment of plants for resale from an off-island nursery. The next year, a coqui frog arrived in the back bed of a truck with leaf litter from outside of Molokai. In 2012, another frog again came in a shipment of plants for resale from off-island. In the most recent arrival in 2018, the coqui frog is suspected to have arrived in plants bought outside of Molokai for a fundraiser.
Importing plants and goods from coqui frog-infested areas like Hawaii Island greatly increase the likelihood that coqui frogs and other dangerous invasive species like little fire ants will get to Molokai undetected. Once they arrive and become established, they will become too widespread and costly to eradicate. The plants that were imported to Molokai that had coqui frogs were all previously inspected by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA)!
Having your plants inspected by HDOA before bringing them to Molokai greatly reduces the chance of transporting invasive species, however, it does not guarantee 100 percent that there will be no invasive species. MoMISC works diligently on prevention, early detection and rapid response to keep invasive species from becoming established on Molokai. Ultimately, only the Molokai community can ensure we don’t get coqui and other pests.
Molokai, maka’ala! Please, please don’t bring plants to Molokai, especially from infested areas. Please, please, inspect and clean your goods before bringing them to Molokai.
The coqui is a small tree frog about 1 inch long and yellow to brown in color. They are usually identified by their loud and distinctive “ko-kee” call. They live in low bushes and foliage usually less than eight feet high, and have no natural predators.
If you suspect a coqui frog or other invasive species on Molokai, please report it by calling MoMISC at (808) 553-5236 ext. 6585 or Lori Buchanan at (808) 336-0625.