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Nonnative frogs boost nonnative birds in Hawaii

Cara J

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It’s the coqui frog’s (Eleutherodactylus coqui) unusually loud call that got on Hawaiians’ nerves after it was accidentally introduced from Puerto Rico in the 1980s. But new research shows the presence of this nonnative frog may also be increasing nonnative birds in the state, threatening to wreak havoc on the Big Island’s ecosystem. “It’s a terrestrial frog that doesn’t require a water body to breed,” said Karen Beard, a Utah State University professor and an author of the recent study published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications. “That’s why it invaded so quickly.” There are up to 90,000 coqui frogs per hectare on the island now, she said. As part of a larger study, Beard and her colleagues measured insect communities to determine if coquis reduce their populations since they’re eating them. They do, the researchers found, so they decided to look at how fewer insects might affect bird populations — both native and nonnative. The research team went to a variety of sites and recorded the density of the frog species in each area. Then they determined which birds were present by observing them and listening for their songs. What they found surprised them. They looked at five native birds in areas [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/nonnative-frogs-boost-nonnative-birds-in-hawaii/

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