Coqui frog population on decline

Published On: Apr 24 2014 08:55:23 PM HST   Updated On: Apr 24 2014 08:58:28 PM HST

Is the discovery of two more coqui frogs on Oahu a cause for alarm? Of course.

Just in the last week, inspectors found a coqui frog in the back of Kalihi Valley and another at a hotel in Waikiki.

Click here for Cam Tran's report.

"Until now, it's been really quiet," said Keevin Minami of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Even though there's been a rash of recent frog findings, numbers shows the frogs on Oahu are down.

In 2012 inspectors found 66 coqui frogs on Oahu. In 2013 30 were found and this year just 15.

"The critical control point is on the Big Island. If we can stop it there then it wouldn't come to Oahu and it won't spread as fast," said Minami.

Agriculture inspectors say most of the frogs come from plants brought in from the Big Island.

Before the plants are shipped to Oahu, they are sprayed with hot water like Christmas Trees. Inspectors also kill the frogs by spraying citric acid on the plants.

"What you do is spray it on and leave it on for about an hour and then you can wash it off," said Minami.

Despite the decline, inspectors ask people to still report any coqui frogs to them as soon as possible and not try to catch them.

"They agitate the frog and it's aware that someone's looking for it. So when we try to capture it and eradicate it, they will run away or they'll stay silent and it's harder to locate," said Minami.

It also gives the frogs more time to mate and multiply.

Once one of these male coqui frogs meets up with a female, they can produce rapidly. A female coqui frog can lay an average of 30 eggs in one sitting and she can also mate multiple times in a year.
So what's a declining problem now can grow exponentially bigger without the proper care.

The recent cases were traced back to some cut orchids and plants that came from the Hilo area.

If you hear a coqui frog, you are asked to call 643-PEST.


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