Frog of the Week

Melodius Coqui (Eleutherodactylus wightmanae)

Melodius Coqui
photo by Luis J. Villanueva-Rivera
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Melodius Coqui, Puerto Rican Melodius Frog, Wrinkled Coqui
Scientific Name: Eleutherodactylus wightmanae
Family: Eleutherodactylidae
Locations: Puerto Rico
Size: 0.74 inches (19 mm)

The Medlodius Coqui lives amongst the leaf litter in the mountainous forests of Puerto Rico. While they are a species of coqui, their call isn’t the standard coqui sound. The frog breeds all year long but peaks around May when the warm, rainy season starts. The males call out to attract females from the leaf litter and in vegetation up to 3 feet high. The female lays between 5 – 8 eggs. They are a direct developing species, skipping a free tadpole phase. When they hatch from their egg, there is just a small froglet that emerges. The males provide parental care for the eggs sometimes.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Melodius Coqui as an Endangered Species. The frogs live in only a handful of locations on the island. Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal disease, has killed off numerous mature coquis. Also, habitat destruction to make room for housing, urban areas, and farms have decreased its habitat.

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