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A Puerto Rican frog and Bluegrass music..
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Patria    Posted 01-25-2005 at 09:39:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
You gotta read this..please.:-)

What does our PRican coqui frog, a banjo, bluegrass music, and Hawaiians have in common?

NADA !!! hehe

A Frog Brings Cacophony to Hawaii's Soundscape

Published: January 25, 2005

When is a frog like a banjo? When it ends up in Hawaii without the rest of the band.

Consider the coquí, a small frog native to Puerto Rico, where it seems to fit right in with all the other frogs and the sounds of the semitropical Caribbean.

"It is a very popular creature throughout the island and enlivens the evenings with its timid ko-kee from which it get its name" according to a Web site that promotes the wonders of Puerto Rico ( Switch to another ocean, and the ko-kee is no longer timid. "Since becoming established in Hawaii in the late 1990's, incredibly loud choruses of this medium-size Puerto Rican frog have been disturbing the sleep of Hawaiians, who have enjoyed frogless nights throughout recorded history."

That comment comes from the Institute for Biological Invasions. But even considering the sources, this seems a wide gap in perception.

The reason is that the frog, Eleutherodactylus coquí, is that familiar ecological villain - an invasive species. Hawaii has no native amphibians or reptiles so the frog, about an inch and a half long, can flourish and disrupt the balance of species without any natural restraints.

And, at least in the human view, the coquí is also disturbing the balance of the soundscape. The mating calls of the coquí, which can be heard on the Web site of Hawaii Ecosystems at Risk,, is something between a chirp and a smoke alarm. It can reach 100 decibels - similar to a loud car horn - at a distance of a foot or two.

The mayor of Hawaii County, which consists of the Big Island of Hawaii, recently asked the state for emergency funds to use lime and citric acid spraying to kill the frogs.

This may seem harsh. But anyone who has been forced to listen to someone else's music blaring from a boom box or a car window should be able to understand. Nature has its own music, which undergoes extreme changes from place to place. The desert and rain forest are as different as Metallica and Caetano Veloso. And, at least to the ears of humans, places have their own musical ecology.

People become accustomed to the sounds of nature they know, a certain orchestration, a texture. Frogs, many different frogs, are part of the sound of the Caribbean. They may be loud, but the sounds of one frog are balanced by another.

Spend a night in the Okefenokee and you'll be treated to some of the loudest frogs you'll ever hear. But the sounds blend together. They're satisfying. Put a pig frog under your bed at home and you would be awake all night.

In musical terms, the coquí might be a banjo in a bluegrass band, balanced by guitar, bass, fiddle and mandolin. There are those who believe nothing balances out a banjo, but these are people who don't like bluegrass music at all.

Imagine a land where bluegrass music of any sort was unknown. (For those who would like to move there, this is a fantasy.) What if that peaceful land were invaded by banjos, and banjos alone. Suddenly the night would be filled with banjo music. No guitars, no fiddles, just banjos. Spraying with lime and citric acid suddenly makes sense.

I happen to be a big fan of frogs, but then I live in the Northeast where spring peepers are a brief seasonal pleasure. I also try to play the guitar with a banjo player and a mandolin player, who have recently instructed me to work on my bass runs to balance out the two tenor instruments. I've been practicing hard, but calling a banjo a tenor instrument hardly does it justice. So, as much as I love frogs, and banjos, I feel for the people of Hawaii.

I would suggest that we drop this whole conceit of invasive species, as if frogs and beetles and northern snakehead fish were meeting in secret cells, planning how to penetrate our borders and then drive us all mad by making noise and eating defenseless North American fish.

These problematic species are accidental tourists stranded in a strange land. We're the ones who carry them around and dump them where they can cause problems. Frogs do not plot invasions.

I suggest we call them dissonant species. That leaves out the implication of intent, but gets across what happens to the complex arrangements of the natural world. It also leaves open the possibility of a new sort of fusion ecology, or atonal environmental music.

People, certainly, are happy to accept some new species.

The northern snakehead has been a headline favorite. But did any newspaper ever carry a headline decrying the German brown trout, an introduced fish, and a fierce predator that eats its own young? But then we like trout. And they are quiet.

If trout sing, few people have heard them.

bill b va    Posted 01-25-2005 at 12:23:40       [Reply]  [No Email]

i don't know the anwser but i know what it means when people say there is going to be hawian music after eating beans .

Patria    Posted 01-25-2005 at 17:28:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
You want to confuse me.

Hawaiian music is soft and mellow..

deadcarp-cane toads    Posted 01-25-2005 at 10:41:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
one thing invariably leads to another: decades ago, somebody imported cane toads into australia to control some fly. they proliferated and have no natural enemies. now they have become roadkill and make the roads slippery for kilometers and cause accidents. and stiff dogs.

in certain areas, if the kids see a stiff dog on their way to s chool, they're told to drag him into the shade. see, the toads like dog food, they have a sorta venom in their backs and when a dog bites them, he gets paralyzed. well kids being curious, they now lick the blasted toads to get high. :)

Patria    Posted 01-25-2005 at 11:36:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
No sheet!

Ya kiddin'me right?!

SusieQ    Posted 01-25-2005 at 15:50:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sadly it is true Patria, what the kids, young adults do today to get a "high" would shock yer socks off........

Patria    Posted 01-25-2005 at 16:14:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
yeah..I know what you mean, Susie..but getting high on toad????

Whatever happened to the good ole...ohnevermind.

RN    Posted 01-25-2005 at 15:45:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cane toad licking is known past few years. Some people skin the backs, dry and smoke or chew later. Australia, South Africa and recently California emergency rooms have medical alerts about symptoms and treatments. Not the safest fun trip around, dosage is difficult to measure.

Patria    Posted 01-25-2005 at 16:07:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
So what would be the 'keyword' if I wanted to do some research? 'Cane toad licking'?

Let me check.

I thought deadcarp was kidding me..heheh

sorry dc:-)

Thanks RN!

RN    Posted 01-25-2005 at 16:17:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
search 'cane toad' or 'buffo maranus' overdose, stroke. I checked about 2 years back on a link, can't quite remember if it was an EMT link my cousin told me about. Emergency personal got the cane toad trouble warnig along with other drug abuse symptoms to watch for. RN

Peanut    Posted 01-25-2005 at 10:04:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
Interesting post Patria.

As far as singing fish go, I have seen lots of Bass that sing while they hang on the wall. They can't sing worth a hoot either.

As far as the frogs go, I am rather surprised to hear (no pun intended) that the Hawaiians find this a problem. I guess people elevate "problems" to different levels based on what they have going on at the time. My guess is that the Paradise of Hawaii has nothing to worry about at this time therefore making frog proliferation a big deal. I wish frogs were all that I had to worry about. :^)

Patria    Posted 01-25-2005 at 11:34:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
What amazes me the most is the fact that coquis in PR are not anoyingly noisy, or loud for that matter. When the news about this started to hit the press I thougt about paying a more close attention to their singing at night. Never gave it a second thought, and there is nothing about their 'loud lifestyle' to worry here in PR.

I'm sure their population in Hawaii must be a lot higher. Anyway, like they say, if they are not used to them it most be really nervecracking to want to sleep at night and not being able to due to the coquis new world order!

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