Date of this Version
Pacific Science (2012), vol. 66, no. 3:255 – 270 doi:10.2984/66.3.1
The greenhouse frog, Eleutherodactylus planirostris, is a direct developing (i.e., no aquatic stage) frog native to Cuba and the Bahamas. It was introduced to Hawai‘i via nursery plants in the early 1990s and then subsequently from Hawai‘i to Guam in 2003. The greenhouse frog is now widespread on five Hawaiian Islands and Guam. Infestations are often overlooked due to the frog’s quiet calls, small size, and cryptic behavior, and this likely contributes to its spread. Because the greenhouse frog is an insectivore, introductions may reduce invertebrates. In Hawai‘i, the greenhouse frog primarily consumes ants, mites, and springtails and obtains densities of up to 12,500 frogs ha−1. At this density, it is estimated that they can consume up to 129,000 invertebrates ha−1 night−1. They are a food source for the nonnative brown tree snake in Guam and may be a food source for other nonnative species. They may also compete with other insectivores for available prey. The greatest direct economic impacts of the invasions are to the nursery trade, which must treat infested shipments. Although various control methods have been developed to control frogs in Hawai‘i, and citric acid, in particular, is effective in reducing greenhouse frogs, the frog’s inconspicuous nature often prevents populations from being identified and managed.