The Coquí Frog is the Symbol of Puerto Rico. At the El Yunque National Rainforest people claim that, at times, it rains coquis. In actuality, the savvy critters are jumping out of trees, en masse, to avoid predators. Because they are so light in weight, they literally float to the ground.
In last month’s issue of Coconut Post, the theme was Mother Nature’s Magic Show. We spotlighted the visual beauty of flamboyant trees that bloom in brilliant red/ orange hues all summer long in our tropical paradise.
This month, although our focus clearly is on summer sunshine, it seems the perfect time to mention audible magic that comes to life as soon as the sun goes down.
In the early evening, if you take a stroll around the lush grounds at Flamboyan Resort, you’ll hear the distinctly enchanting sounds of the coqui.
Pronounced ko-KEE, its name reflects the sing-song sounds made by the tiny male tree frog when serenading a prospective soulmate.
Native to Puerto Rico, the coqui has also been introduced to several other places including the U.S. Virgin Islands. Typically, a coqui is one to two inches long and weighs only two to four ounces.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, its scientific genus name —Eleutherodactylus—means “free toes.” How appropriate! Unlike most frogs, the coqui doesn’t have webbed feet. Instead, these fascinating amphibians have special disks — or toe pads — on their feet. The pads allow them to climb up vertical structures and cling to trees and leaves.
Most coquis spend their nights in the forest canopy, retreating to shelter on the ground at dawn. The male coqui’s song has been measured at 90 to 100 decibels, making it the loudest of all existing amphibians.
A BIT ABOUT ANTILLES AIRBOATS
In 1963, long before the birth of Seaborne Airlines, famed aviator Charles F. “Charlie” Blair, Jr. put $10,000 down on a Grumman Goose, hired five employees, and started an airline offering inexpensive island-to-island travel. Blair built up the fleet to 27 propeller-driven float planes from World War II —well suited for short hops over water. At its peak, Antilles Air Boats served St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, Tortola, Peter Island, Fajardo and San Juan. By 1980 it was the largest seaplane airline in the world. In 1981, it was sold to Air Resorts.