Meet the 'spiderman' frog with human-like fingers and toes

Picture of a el cogui frog.

'El coqui' a frog with unusual features

This little frog averages 36 mm (less than an inch and a half) in length. Its body is not much larger than a human’s thumbnail.

The head, with its large, protruding eyes, is wider than the torso.

Those eyes are ever on the alert for any careless insect that might fly close enough to become a tasty morsel.

Unlike other frogs, coquí does not have webbed feet but has long human-like fingers and toes.

Its skin changes from light to dark, to match its surroundings.

Another non-frog like feature is its development from eggs to embryo to frog.

There is no tadpole stage.

The female is a giant compared to the male.

She usually lays about 36 eggs on the leaf of an air plant, just at the surface of the water in the lower part of the leaf.

The eggs form an oval mass six to eight mm (about one-fourth inch) in diameter.

At night coquíes sit about on vegetation, enjoying their own harmonious sounds.

Only the males sing.

Sometimes they begin their melodious song softly, going up the musical scale, “co-qui-qui-qui-qui-qui!” very rapidly.

As the song gets louder, it settles down to the common two-note “ko-kee! ko-kee!”

The residents of Puerto Rico where the frog is usually found find this a most pleasing accompaniment to their evening meals.

They particularly enjoy the nightly songs of this little frog in the bromeliad plant hanging on the porch.

Unfortunately, many times his privacy was often invaded as people pulled down a leaf of the plant to peep in at the small body from which that big voice came.

The frog usually puffs himself up to twice his size, then squeezing out the “ko-kee!” whistles, his body pulsating with each note.

Creating a coqui family

A coqui frog.

In a small town in Puerto Ricoa woman had the delight of actually witnessing the birth of a coquí family.

One night she saw the female high up on the kitchen wall.

The darker, somewhat warty female is not nearly as good-looking as the male.

In the morning the woman checked the hole that was the male’s living quarters, and found him sitting over a mass of eggs.

The nights were quiet now, for while attending to his duties papa coquí does not sing.

The woman kept close watch on the eggs, and her vigilance paid off.

Finally, she noticed a stream of water going over the eggs.

Again and again the male sprayed them.

Soon one of the eggs seemed to be whirling, but just for a moment.

The membrane broke and out hopped a tiny coquí, about the size of a common ant but with long legs.

The tiny animal disappeared quickly.

Then other eggs began hatching.

Finally, the hole was alive with swirling eggs and tiny coquíes scurrying for cover.

The father kept spraying water at intervals, apparently unconcerned about the flight of his offspring.

When his work was finished, he left.

His voice was not heard for several evenings.

But after a week or so the familiar sound came from the same window perch he formerly used.

And there he sat, his little body pushing out those two welcome notes, “ko-kee! ko-kee!”