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Biological Invasions

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 939–948 | Cite as

Coqui frog invasions change invertebrate communities in Hawaii

  • Ryan T. Choi
  • Karen H. Beard
Original Paper

Abstract

The Puerto Rican coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) invaded Hawaii in the late 1980s. Because the coqui reaches high densities and consumes large quantities of invertebrates, it was hypothesized to change invertebrate communities where it invades. Previous research found that coquis can change invertebrate communities, but these studies used highly manipulative, small-scale experiments. The objective of this research was to determine whether coquis create community-level changes in invertebrate communities at the landscape scale. We collected leaf litter, flying, and foliage invertebrates on both sides of 15 coqui invasion fronts across the island of Hawaii. Multivariate analyses show that coquis are associated with changes in leaf-litter communities, primarily reductions in Acari, but are not associated with overall changes in flying or foliage communities. Across sites, coquis reduced the total number of leaf-litter invertebrates by 27%, specifically by reducing Acari by 36%. Across sites, coquis increased flying Diptera by 19%. Changes were greater where coqui densities were higher. We suggest that coquis changed leaf-litter communities primarily through direct predation, but that they increased Diptera through the addition of frog carcasses and excrement. Results support previous studies conducted in more controlled settings, but add to our understanding of the invasion by showing that coqui effects on invertebrate communities are measurable at the landscape scale.

Keywords

Amphibian Anuran Community impacts Eleutherodactylus coqui Invasive species Non-native species 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by USDA/APHIS National Wildlife Research Center, and the Jack H. Berryman Institute and Ecology Center at Utah State University. We thank F. Nebenburgh and J. Chaney for field and lab assistance; W. Pitt for providing field and logistical assistance; S. Durham for statistical advice; D. Koons and E. White for comments and suggestions on the manuscript; and A. Rayburn for help with figures. We also thank private landowners who generously granted us access to their properties.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wildland Resources and the Ecology CenterUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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