2006 Wildlife Facts - Dwarf Coqui

Photo of the Dwarf Coqui, Coqui Duende

Dwarf Coqui, Elfin Coqui (Eng.), Coqui Duende (Sp.), Eleutherodactylus unicolor (Sci.) Endemic, Puerto Rico.

Photo Father Alejandro Sanchez. Information compiled by Alan Mowbray, Interpretive Media Writer, EYNF/LEF

General Information

There are 16 species of Eleutherodactylus on the island of Puerto Rico. Eleutherodactylus frogs have individual (non-webbed) fingers and toes. They do not pass through a tadpole stage and thus do not require water to reproduce. Instead, after fertilization by the male, eggs are laid by the female in humid areas. When the eggs hatch, a fully-formed froglet (a tiny replica of the adult frog) emerges. In Puerto Rico all Eleutherodactylus frogs are generally called Coqu frogs, although the males of only two of the sixteen known species on the island make the plaintive ko-kee call.


Eluetherodactylus unicolor is a small, squatty, chubby frog; typical male snout-vent length (SVL) is 0.6 inches (17 millimeters), females are slightly larger. It has a grayish-brown dorsum (back surface) a dark face mask and a pair of light “parentheses” markings, comprised of a series of whitish dots that proceed towards its posterior, become slightly wider and cross its thighs on an oblique angle. It has an elongated black spot below the “parentheses” on each side of its body. Females have a light line along the angle of the eyelid. It usually has white dots along the face, flanks, forelimbs and thighs. The male has a narrow, pointed, overhanging snout. Its finger and toe discs are quite small and pointed, larger on the toes than on the fingers.


The call of the Dwarf Coqui has been compared to the sound of a fingernail being drawn across the teeth of a comb or the winding of a watch. (Click here to hear its call). The male calls from dusk to dawn from the root cavities of tree ferns, even during winter when temperatures can drop to a low of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius).


The Dwarf Coqui lives under moss, rocks and roots in the elfin forest of the Luquillo Mountains (El Yunque NF) between 2,200 and 3,300 feet (670 and 1,005 meters).

Where to look for this animal in the EYNF

In moss, rocks and at the base of tree ferns along the upper section of the Mount Britton nature trail.

Additional Information

USDA Forest Service
El Yunque National Forest
HC-01 Box 13490
Rio Grande, PR 00745
787 888 1810

List of Mamals by Month

January: Feral Dog February: Zenaida Dove March: Brown Flower Bat
Photo/Link of the Feral Dog, Perro Salvaje
Photo/Link of the Zenaida Dove, T������rtola Cardosantera
Photo/Link of the Brown Flower Bat, Murci������lago Marr������n Comeflores
April: Common Dwarf Gecko May: Red-Legged Thrush June: Sharp-Mouthed Lizard
Photo/Link of the Common Dwarf Gecko/Salamanquita Com������n
Photo/Link of the Red-legged Thrush/Zorzal de Patas Coloradas
Photo/Link of the Sharp-mouthed Lizard, Lagartijo Jardinero
July: Giant Toad August: Tailless Whip-Scorpion September: Common Puerto Rican Brown Tarantula
Photo/Link of the Giant Toad/Sapo Comon
Photo/Link of the Tailless Whip-scorpion, Guab������
Photo/Link of the Common Puerto Rican Brown Tarantula, Ara������a Pel������a
October: Dwarf Coqui November: Puerto Rico Sharp-Shinned Hawk December: Yellow-Nosed Shrimp
Photo/Link of the Dwarf Coqui, Coqu������ Duende
Photo/Link of the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Falc������n de Sierra
Photo/Link of the Yellow-nosed Shrimp, Salpiche