Vol. 17 No. 2 (2022)

Occupancy and probability of detection of the introduced population of Eleutherodactylus coqui in Turrialba, Costa Rica

Jimmy Barrantes-Madrigal
Instituto Internacional en Conservación y Manejo de Vida Silvestre, Universidad Nacional, Heredia
Manuel Spínola Parallada
Instituto Internacional en Conservación y Manejo de Vida Silvestre, Universidad Nacional, Heredia
Gilbert Alvarado
Laboratorio de Patología Experimental y Comparada (LAPECOM), Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José
Víctor J. Acosta-Chaves
Sede del Atlántico, Universidad de Costa Rica Sede Atlántico, Cartago
Published July 28, 2022
  • amphibians,
  • conservation,
  • detection probability,
  • invasive species,
  • occupancy models,
  • introduced species
  • ...More
How to Cite
Barrantes-Madrigal, J., Spínola Parallada, M., Alvarado, G., & Acosta-Chaves, V. J. (2022). Occupancy and probability of detection of the introduced population of Eleutherodactylus coqui in Turrialba, Costa Rica. Acta Herpetologica, 17(2), 177-186. https://doi.org/10.36253/a_h-13209

Funding data


The Puerto Rican Common coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) has a long history as an invasive species in places such as Hawaii. Since its introduction in Costa Rica, scarce information is available to understand why and how the habitat in the Turrialba town is suitable for the species. Our goal was to analyze the habitat selection of E. coqui to identify if there are key habitat features that explained its success there. We measured 9 site variables that may affect the habitat selection of E. coqui in 92 survey units of 10 m radius distributed over a 500 m radius from its introduction point.  We registered the presence/pseudo-absence data of E. coqui and environmental variables in each survey unit during eight surveys. We ran occupancy models to determine the influence of the variables on the habitat selection and to estimate its detection probability. We found that sites near the introduction point, containing abundant vegetation, bromeliads, and palms have a higher probability to be occupied by E. coqui. The habitat selection in Costa Rica shares characteristics with the populations of Puerto Rico and Hawaii. But, unlike the case in Hawaii, in Costa Rica this species has maintained a limited dispersal because the potentially higher biotic resistance, as well a sedentary behavior. However, the microhabitat conditions used by E. coqui in the study site are common throughout the country. Therefore, active management in new populations and environmental education programs to avoid human transportation of the species is critical to reduce its dispersal.


Metrics Loading ...


Barrantes-Madrigal, J., Parallada, M.S., Alvarado, G., Chaves, V.J.A. (2019). Distribution and invasion progress of Eleutherodactylus coqui (Anura: Eleutherodactylidae) introduced in Costa Rica. Phyllomedusa 18: 101-107.
Barton, K. (2016). Package “MuMIn”: Multi-Model Inference. R package, Version 1.15. 6. URL: https://cran. r-project. org/web/packages/MuMIn/index.
Beard, K.H., Al-Chokhachy, R., Tuttle, N.C., O'Neill, E.M. (2008). Population density estimates and growth rates of Eleutherodactylus coqui in Hawaii. J. Herpetol. 42: 626-636.
Beard, K.H., McCullough, S., Eschtruth, A.K. (2003). Quantitative assessment of habitat preferences for the Puerto Rican terrestrial frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui. J. Herpetol. 37: 10-17.
Beard, K.H., Price, E.A., Pitt, W.C. (2009). Biology and Impacts of Pacific Island Invasive Species. Eleutherodactylus coqui, the Coqui Frog (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Pac. Sci. 63: 297-316.
Carneiro, V.C., Lyko, F. (2020). Rapid epigenetic adaptation in animals and its role in invasiveness. Integr. and Comp. Biol. 60: 267-274.
Choi, R.T., Beard, K.H. (2012). Coqui frog invasions change invertebrate communities in Hawaii. Biol. Invasions 14: 939-948
Crump, M.L., Scott, N.J. (1994). Visual encounter surveys. In: Measuring and monitoring biological diversity: standard methods for amphibians. Heyer, W.R., Donnelly, M.A., McDiarmid, R. W., Hayek, L., Foster, M. S., Eds, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.
Dufour, J. (1978). Desventajas del sitio de las ciudades en el medio volcánico e hiperhúmedo de Centroamérica. El caso de Turrailba, Costa Rica. Rev. Geogr. 86: 207-225
Everman, E., Klawinski, P. (2013). Human‐facilitated jump dispersal of a non‐native frog species on Hawai'i Island. J. Biogeogr. 40: 1961-1970.
Fiske, I., Chandler, R. (2011). unmarked: An R Package for Fitting Hierarchical Models of Wildlife Occurrence and Abundance. J. Stat. Softw. 43: 1-23.
Fogarty, J.H., Vilella, F.J. (2003). Use of native forest and eucalyptus plantations by Eleutherodactylus frogs. J. Wildl. Manag. 67: 186-195.
García-Rodríguez, A., Chaves, G., Wainwright, M., Villegas, A. (2010). Eleutherodactylus coqui (Puerto Rican coquí). Herpetol. Rev. 41: 320-321.
Grant, R., Halliday, T., Chadwick, E. (2012). Amphibians response to the lunar synodic cycle—a review of current knowledge, recommendations, and implications for conservation. Behav. Ecol. 24: 53–62.
Hijmans, R. (2016). raster: Geographic Data Analysis and Modeling. R package versión 2.5-8. Available in: https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=raster
Jiménez-Valverde, A., Peterson, A.T., Soberón, J., Overton, J.M., Aragón, P., Lobo, J.M. (2011). Use of niche models in invasive species risk assessments. Biol. Invasions 13: 2785-2797.
Joglar, R.L. (1998). Los coquíes de Puerto Rico: su historia natural y conservación. University of Puerto Rico, San Juan.
Klawinski, P.D., Dalton, B., Shiels, A.B. (2014). Coqui frog populations are negatively affected by canopy opening but not detritus deposition following an experimental hurricane in a tropical rainforest. For. Ecol. Manag. 332: 118-123.
Kraus, F. Campbell, E.W. (2002) Human-mediated escalation of a formerly eradicable problem: the invasion of Caribbean frogs in the Hawai’ian Islands. Biol. Invasions 4: 327-332.
LaVal, R.K., & Rodríguez, B. (2002). Costa Rica bats. Editorial INBio.
Lowe, S., Browne, M., Boudjelas, S., De Poorter, M. (2004). 100 of the world's worst invasive alien species. A Selection From the Global Invasive Species Database. IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), Auckland, New Zealand.
Mačić, V., Albano, P.G., Almpanidou, V., Claudet, J., Corrales, X., Essl, F., Marković, O. (2018). Biological invasions in conservation planning: a global systematic review. Front. Mar. Sci. 5: 178.
MacKenzie, D.I., Bailey, L.L. (2004). Assessing the fit of site-occupancy models. J. Agric. Biol. Environ. Stat. 9: 300-318.
MacKenzie, D.I., Nichols, J.D., Lachman, G. B., Droege, S., Royle, J., Langtimm, C.A. (2002). Estimating site occupancy rates when detection probabilities are less than one. Ecol. 83: 2248-2255.
Meyer, S.E., Callaham, M.A., Stewart, J.E., & Warren, S.D. (2021). Invasive Species Response to Natural and Anthropogenic Disturbance. In: Invasive Species in Forests and Rangelands of the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the United States Forest Sector. Heidelberg, pp. 85-110. Poland, T.M. Patel-Weynand, T., Finch, D.M., Ford, M.C., Hayes, D.C., Lopez, V.M., Eds, Germany, Springer International Publishing.
Monroe, K.D., Collazo, J.A., Pacifici, K., Reich, B.J., Puente-Rolón, A.R., & Terando, A.J. (2017). Occupancy and abundance of Eleutherodactylus frogs in coffee plantations in Puerto Rico. Herpetol. 73(4): 297-306.
Olson, C.A., Beard, K.H., Koons, D.N., Pitt, W.C. (2012). Detection probabilities of two introduced frogs in Hawaii: implications for assessing non-native species distributions. Biol. Invasions 14: 889-900.
O'Neill, E.M., Beard, K.H., Fox, C.W. (2018). Body size and life history traits in native and introduced populations of Coqui frogs. Copeia 106: 161-170.
Ovaska, K. (1992). Short-and long-term movements of the frog Eleutherodactylus johnstonei in Barbados, West Indies. Copeia 1992: 569-573.
Pough, F.H., Taigen, T.L., Stewart M.M., Brussard, P.F. (1983). Behavioral modification of evaporative water loss by a Puerto Rican frog. Ecol. 64: 244-252.
R Core Team. (2016). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.
Rauschert, E.S., Mortensen, D.A., Bloser, S.M. (2017). Human-mediated dispersal via rural road maintenance can move invasive propagules. Biol. Invasions 19: 2047-2058.
Savage, J.M. (2002). The amphibians and reptiles of Costa Rica: a herpetofauna between two continents, between two seas. University of Chicago press.
Shea, K., Chesson, P. (2002). Community ecology theory as a framework for biological invasions. Trends. Ecol. Evol. 17: 170–176.
Sin, H., Beard, K.H., Pitt, W.C. (2008). An invasive frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui, increases new leaf production and leaf litter decomposition rates through nutrient cycling in Hawaii. Biol. Invasions 10: 335-345.
Stewart, M.M. Pought, F.H. (1983). Population Density of Tropical Forest Frogs: Relation to Retreat Sites. Sci. 221: 570-572.
Stiles, F.G., Skutch, A.F. (1989). Guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comistock.
Townsend, D.S. (1989). The consequences of microhabitat choice for male reproductive success in a tropical frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui). Herpetol. 451-458.
Townsend, D.S. Stewart, M.M. (1994). Reproductive ecology of the Puerto Rican Frog Eleutherodactylus coqui. J. Herpetol. 28: 34-40.
Wan, J.S., Rutherford, S., Bonser, S.P. (2019). The invasion triangle in the range dynamics of invasive species following successful establishment. Evol. Ecol. 33: 299-312.
Weir, L.A., Royle, J.A., Nanjappa, P., Jung, R.E. (2005). Modeling anuran detection and site occupancy on North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) routes in Maryland. J. Herpetol. 39: 627-639.
Whitney, K.D., Gabler, C.A. (2008). Rapid evolution in introduced species,‘invasive traits’ and recipient communities: challenges for predicting invasive potential. Divers. Distrib. 14: 569-580.
Woolbright, L.L. (1985). Patterns of nocturnal movement and calling by the tropical frog Eleutherodactylus coqui. Herpetol. 41: 1-9.
Zenni, R.D., Nuñez, M.A. (2013). The elephant in the room: the role of failed invasions in understanding invasion biology. Oikos 122: 801-815.