Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation of the Mona Coqui (Eleutherodactylus monensis) in Puerto Rico
Date of Graduation
Project/Capstone - Global access
Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)
College of Arts and Sciences
The Mona Coqui (Eleutherodactylus monensis) is a medium-sized, terrestrial frog endemic to Mona Island, Puerto Rico. E. monensis is the only amphibian known to inhabit Mona Island, a small (57 km2) subtropical dry forested island located in the Caribbean between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. E. monensis is currently listed by the IUCN (2008) as Vulnerable due to its restricted range of less than 100 km2. Other possible threats may include emerging amphibian disease (i.e. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd)), invasive species, and climate change. An increase of eco-tourism may also pose an immediate threat to this species if measures are not put in place to mitigate human impacts. There is little known about the natural history and ecology of E. monensis and this study represents one of the first to focus on this species. The design of this study incorporates both a literature review and field surveys focused on E. monensis distribution, disease presence, and population counts on Mona Island. The literature review focused on E. monensis origins, E. monensis reproductive behaviors, Mona Island habitat and E. monensis historical distribution. Field surveys for population counts and distribution localities of E. monensis took place on Mona Island a total of seven times between the years 2011-2019. Seven sites at two localities on Mona Island were visited during the course of this study. These results indicate that certain caves on Mona Island, particularly Cueva Caballos at Playa Pájaros, could be critical breeding habitat for E. monensis due to the quantity of froglet hatchlings found inside of the cave towards the end of the dry season. E. monensis were found year-round in and around the Pozo del Portugués at Playa Sardinera, which could also be considered critical habitat for this species. All skin swabs samples taken from E. monensis are negative for Bd and there is currently no publication reporting the disease on the island. At present time this species does not have any government protection. This research will help to provide some management recommendations for this species, such as mitigating tourism impacts, developing education and outreach initiatives, and identifying continuing research opportunities.
Stabile, Jennifer, "Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation of the Mona Coqui (Eleutherodactylus monensis) in Puerto Rico" (2020). Master's Projects and Capstones. 1540.