Ask the Mayor: What Can Prevent the Spread of Coquis Via Vehicle?
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Q: I heard that some guy with a lunch truck who lives in an area where the coqui frogs live, accidentally transported the frogs up to the Hali‘imaile area, where they have now spread. Can the county confirm this and if so, what’s to prevent other people from inadvertently giving coqui frogs a ride around the island? I didn’t even know they like to jump into vehicles. Is that a real thing?
A: I asked the Maui Invasive Species Committee about this and was told that it is very possible that coqui frogs can be accidentally moved on vehicles, potted plants, equipment, building materials and just about anywhere that offers a small place to hide.
For example, the junkyard in Ha‘ikū was once heavily infested with coqui after cars from an infested area had been moved there. The junkyard infestation has since been eradicated.
Because the frogs are cryptically colored and so small—about as wide as a quarter—it can be very difficult to know you’re transporting them. Coqui continue to be accidentally introduced from Hawaii Island as well and could show up anywhere on the island.
There has been a small infestation at Hali‘imaile, but the good news is that during MISC’s visit to the area earlier this month, they did not hear any coqui; they will continue to monitor the site for at least one year. We don’t know for sure how the coqui got there.
The best way to prevent moving frogs from an infested area is to keep vegetation away from parked vehicles, control coqui in areas near vehicles and to not share potted plants.
You can contact MISC at 573-6472 or [email protected] for more information.
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.