Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Coquis getting smaller and squeakier

  • Written by  Olivia Edward
  • Published in Wildlife
The coqui frog The coqui frog Geordie Torr
01 Jun
Puerto Rico’s national animal, the coqui frog, has undergone a series of small but significant changes due to the warming of the territory’s climate over the past three decades

Biologists from the University of California, Los Angeles, Peter Narins and Sebastiaan Meenderink recorded the mating calls of male coquis along a 13-kilometre transect up the side of El Yunque mountain that took in a wide altitudinal gradient. They then compared these with similar recordings along the same altitudinal gradient obtained 23 years earlier. The results showed that at any given altitude, the call has become shorter and higher pitched.

The pair also compared the physical attributes of 116 male coquis caught in 2006 with those of 170 males caught in 1983 along the same altitudinal gradient. The results indicated that frogs from comparable altitudes are more than ten per cent shorter in length than they were 23 years earlier.

According to the biologists, the observed differences are consistent with a shift to higher elevations for the population. Their results showed, for example, that in 2006, the pitch of the ‘qui’ part of the males’ call was comparable to that of counterparts that lived 83 metres downslope in 1983. ‘If current trends continue unabated, the coqui frog will sound and look quite different before this century is over,’ Narins added. 

This story was published in the June 2014 edition of Geographical Magazine 

Related items

Subscribe and Save!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3


Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby




Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...


A look at the contribution of hippos to the savannah…


The new app encourages young children to connect with the…


A type of panel has been invented that can generate…


In the 4th century BC, Aristotle proposed that earthquakes were…


The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management pledges to achieve net…


Earthquakes from time immemorial have attracted the attention of the…


A planned kayaking expedition in Nepal took on a whole…


Scientists from Bristol University are working in conjunction with EDF…


In the 1930s, Charles Richter developed a simple scale for…


Researchers at Colombia University have answered a question that has…


How prepared can any government or city be against a…


Benjamin Hennig creates a series of cartograms to demonstrate the…


Could grey seals singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star help develop…


Deep sea expert Dr Alex Rogers explains the importance of…


Analysis of coral cores, extracted from coral reefs in the…


Celebrities and animal welfare groups have been expressing their disappointment…


In a series of photographs from his recent trip to…