COQUI DORADO RECOVERY PLAN
The Golden Coqui, Eleutherodactylus jasperi, is the only frog species in the New World family Leptodactylidae definitly know to give birth to live young (ovoviviparous) (Drewry and Jones 1976, Rivero 1978, Wake 1978). However, observations by Lynn and Grant in 1940 (Wake 1978) suggest the possibility of one additional ovoviviparous species, the Jamacan coqui, E. orcutti.
Eleutherodactylus jasperi measures 19-22 mm in snout-vent length and is olive-gold to yellow-gold in color (Rivero 1978). The eyes are small, protruding slightly from the scokets. The snout lacks a pointed tip, a caracteristic that differentiates it from the closely related E. gryllus (Coqui grillo). Both inhabit the leaf axils of bromeliads. Rivero (1978) suggests that E. jasperi may be most related to E. hedricki, with which it shares a constriction of the back of the head. The golded coqui was frist described by Drewry and Jones in 1976. These authors also provide informationon reproduction, habitats, and range or the species.
The Coqui Dorado is endemic to Puerto Rico and is restricted to a small area south of Cayey. It occurs on mountain tops, from 700 to 850 meters in elevation, at Cerro Avispa, Monte El Gato, and Sierra de Cayey, and occupies a total habitat area of approximately 24 hectares. The area receives heavy dew from orographic uplift of the air striking the mountain range. It has been found on dense clusters of Bromeliads such as Vriesia, Hohenbergia, and Guzmania growing on trees, rock edges, and on the ground. The Golden Coqui inhabits the water-filled leaf axils of the Bromeliads. Little is known about its feeding habits. Drewry and Jones (1976) observed that in daylight El Coqui Dorado captures insects that enter the axils of the leaves. At night they venture out of the same leaves, but will retreat quickly when disturbed.
Drewry and Jones (1976) reported gravid females from April to August. They observed that about a mounth elapsed between fertilization and birth in captive Golden Coqui. Rivero reported a 26-day gestation period for a captive female. Based on the observation of two classes of sub-adults on a single plant, Drewry and Jones suggested that females may produce two clutches per year. However, females and males could be receptive during long periods of time or throughout the year (Wake 1978), suggesting that reproduction could be acyclical (T. Nakamura)
Wake (1978) reported that eggs are retained in a modified oviduct and that fertilization is internal. Female E. jasperi retain five to six developing embryos in the oviducts. Three to five froglets metamorphosed within 33 days (Drewry and Jones 1976, and Rivero 1978).
The present status of the species needs evaluation. The only available population estimates are those developed by Drewry while conducting field investigation of E. jasperi between May 1973 and August 1974. He estimated a population of less than 10 individuals for Cerro Avispa, 500-1000 for Monte El Gato, and 1000-2000 for all Sierra De Cayey.
There are no data to document an actual decline of the species; however, since the type locality burned a few years back, some recent loss can reasonably be presumed. Drewry and Jones indicated that the species is threatened due to past and potential loss of habitat, its obligates Bromeliad dwelling mode of existence, its presumed low reproductive rate, the potential for overcollection, and an apparent inability to dispence.
Beyond the automatic protection provided to endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, no conservation measures have been taken for E. jasperi since it was classified as threatened and critical habitat was designated in the Federal Register of November 11 1977 (42 FR58756-58758) Its current range occurs primarily on privately owned lands, which make consevation ot the species administratively more complex and restricts the potential for management. All native wildlife is protected under Law 70 of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
The objective of this recovery plan is to bring the populations to the levels at which it can be delisted. Since little information is available on present population levels and trends, an interim recovery goal will be defined in terms of the following criteria:
That the three known populations be stable or expanding, each having a minimum of 1,000 individuals.
That long-term habitat protection has been insured for essential habitat of the three known populations throught appropriate means as determined by an evaluation of all available options.
That habitat management plans are completed and provide a basis for long-term management of the Golden Coqui habitat to insure sustained availability of required habitat conditions and reduce the likelyhood of castastrophic losses from fires or hurricanes.
The population objective of 1,000 individuals can be changed if warranted by new information. The present objective was arrived at by taking into account the 1973-74 population data and the need for sufficient genetic diversity and a population size that would provide a measure of protection against catastrophic events from eliminating the entire population.
US Counties within Puerto Rico in which the Golden coqui, is known to or is believed to occur:
Puerto Rico Adjuntas
Puerto Rico Caguas
Puerto Rico Cayey
Puerto Rico Guayama
Puerto Rico Patillas
Puerto Rico Salinas
Puerto Rico San Lorenzo
OTHER PUERTO RICO COQUI
Eleutherodactylus antillensis Antillean Coquí
Eleutherodactylus brittoni [e] Grass Coquí
Eleutherodactylus cochranae Whistling Coquí
Eleutherodactylus cooki [e] Cook’s Robber Frog
Eleutherodactylus coqui Common Coquí
Eleutherodactylus eneidae [ext] Mottled Coquí
Eleutherodactylus gryllus [e] Cricket Coquí
Eleutherodactylus hedricki [e] Tree-hole Coquí
Eleutherodactylus jasperi [ext] Golden Coquí
Eleutherodactylus juanariveroi [e] Plains Coquí
Eleutherodactylus karlschmidti [ext] Web-footed Coquí
Eleutherodactylus locustus [e] Warty Coquí
Eleutherodactylus monensis [e] Mona Coquí
Eleutherodactylus portoricensis [e] Forest Coquí
Eleutherodactylus richmondi [e] Ground Coquí
Eleutherodactylus unicolor [e] Burrowing Coquí
Eleutherodactylus wightmanae [e] Melodious Coquí