Saturday, February 17, 2001
home page local news opinion business island life sports
AP National & International News
Traffic Hotspots
School Calendar
E-The People
Email Lawmakers
Classified Ads
Restaurant Guide
Business Directory

Posted on: Saturday, February 17, 2001

State hopes caffeine concentrate curbs frogs on Big Island

By Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Noisy populations of Caribbean frogs have exploded on the Big Island, but state wildlife officials are hopeful they’ve found an effective way to fight back.

Caribbean frogs on the Big Island have increased and spread to 150 locations.

Photo courtsey Hawaii Biological Society

A concentrated form of caffeine used as a spray has emerged as the best frog killer in field testing of more than 30 over-the-counter compounds, said Fred Kraus, alien species coordinator with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

"We’ve had close to 100 percent knock-down success with one application,’’ Kraus said.

Field testing is required before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will allow use of the compound as a control agent against the frogs.

But is it too late for eradication? Kraus said the Big Island frogs have expanded to 150 locations from about eight just three years ago.

In their native Caribbean islands, the frogs, Eleutherodactylus coqui, live in populations of up to 8,000 an acre. Females can produce more than 200 eggs a year, with each frog reaching sexual maturity in just eight months.

The frogs arrived in Hawaii during the past five years as hitchhikers in nursery materials. Scientists say they’re a threat to Hawaii’s native forests and export nursery industry. Their loud calls also can be a source of irritation.

There are 40 populations on Maui and a few on Oahu, but the Big Island has the worst problem by far.

State wildlife biologist Fern Duvall said he and a few colleagues observed an enormous frog infestation last year at the Big Island's Lava Tree State Park in Pahoa. He described the din as "deafening’’ and "mind-boggling,’’ and estimated that population at 10,000.

[back to top]

Home | Local News | Opinion | Business | Island Life | Sports
Weather | Traffic Hotspots | Obituaries | School Calendar | Email Lawmakers
How to Subscribe | How to Advertise | Site Map | Terms of Service | Corrections

© COPYRIGHT 2001 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.