The Puerto Rican coquí is a very tiny and small tree frog only about one inch long. Some coquíes look green, some brown and some yellowish - actually they are translucent. Coquíes have a high pitched sound and can be heard from far away.
The coquíes begin to sing when the sun goes down at dusk. Their melody serenades islanders to sleep. Coquíes sing all night long until dawn when they stop singing and head back to the nest.
Puerto Ricans love their coquíes and have written poems, stories, and Aguinaldos about them.
During the time of the Taíno Indians trillions of coquíes serenaded our ancestral home. Many Taíno Indian myths surround the coquí. When you look at Puerto Rican Taíno art you can see that the coquí meant a lot to them. Coquíes are found in much of the Taíno art like pictographs and pottery.
In Puerto Rico all coquíes are called coquí even though not all sing ''co-quí''. Only two of the species the ''Coquí Común'' and the ''Coquí de la Montaña or Coquí Puertorriqueño'' actually sing ''co-quí''.
When there is more light either from the moon or from street lights, there are less coquíes. Therefore there are more coquíes in isolated areas like the mountains. The specie ''Puerto Rican coquí'' sings co-quí, co-quí, co-quí at dusk and changes to co-quí-quí-quí, co-quí-quí-quí, co-quí-quí-quí, at dawn. It is arboreal - climbing to the top of trees in search of insects. There it remains until dawn when it changes its song and jumps down nesting until the evening.
Coquíes are in danger of extinction and actually two of them are already extinct - the Coquí Dorado and the Coquí Palmeado. Others are endangered species like the Coquí Caoba and the Coquí de Eneida. Why are coquíes in extension? Because of deforestation. People have destroyed their habitat often destroying their eggs and destroying their source of food and nourishment.
Puerto Rican coquíes have relatives all over Latin America. The coquí genre is found in all the Caribbean Islands, and in Central and South America. But again, the only ones that make the sound ''co-quí'' are Puerto Rican.
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Collaborating Illustrator: Jorge Luis Rodríguez; Bronx, NY