Coquis: A Puerto Rican Cultural Icon

coquis

The Puerto Rican coquis are a very tiny little frog that is endemic to Puerto Rico. If you are in the country (or anywhere really) you will often hear the sounds of the coqui at night (co-qui co-qui). One would think they are the size of a bullfrog based on how much noise they make, but in fact they are more the size of your thumbnail.

This little frog, due to it’s uniqueness, has over the years become a cultural icon in Puerto Rico. It is represented in local artwork and books and has generally become the unofficial mascot of Puerto Rico. You will find coqui toys, books, recordings, and shirts in many of the souvenir shops on the island. Many establishments bear the name “Coquí,” and the Puerto Rican version of egg nog is called the coquito (it’s a mix of rum, cinnamon, cloves, coconut and egg, if you ever want to try it; you can also buy bottles of it on the island).

They have been featured in many poems and stories, and are even prominently featured in the myths, pottery and pictographs of the Tainos (native tribe of Puerto Rico)

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”.

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.

The scientific name for the coquí is Eleu-thero-dactylus, characterized because they have no webbed toes. There are 16 different species in Puerto Rico and all of them have padded discs at the end of their toes which helps them climb.

Contrary to frogs, the coquíes do not go through a tadpole stage and break out of their egg – a small replica of their parents. The Golden Coqui is the only specie in the world that bears live young.

You will find many representations of the coqui in both our stores and online. Want a coqui souvenir for your self? Consider one of these:

 

This article was written by Captain Tim and the Crew of Caribbean Trading Company.

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