By Carlitos Coquí
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed below are not necessarily those of this newspaper, but solely of your humble servant.
All coquís know that lizards and frogs are the two main contenders for the food supply in this forest. There are as many lizards as there are frogs, and that’s a lot. Fortunately, frogs and lizards don’t compete for food because lizards (and birds) eat during the day, and frogs eat at night. We each have our own little niche, our own functional role in the ecosystem.
Here is the problem: Some of the coquís are chanters. We produce our distinctive “ko-KEE, do-KEE” chant in order to attract girlfriends and to keep rivals away from our territory. When we chant, we can't eat until late at night. By then, the really big swarms of insects have already been eaten by our so-called "friendly" neighboring coquis. Well, I say, enough is enough!
This is the way it is: As the sun goes down, thousands of coquís emerge from our daytime retreats. The retreats are leaf stems, ground crevices, ground matter, and the like. Most of us remain on leaves, trunks, or limbs until dawn. We sit there patiently, scarcely moving throughout the night. We wait to snatch up and savor any unsuspecting prey as it passes by. Young coquís sit in the low plants and shrubs. This is understandable. Non-breeding females and some males climb to the tree canopy, that is, to the tops of the trees. The food up there is often more abundant, and the meals are larger. During the wet season coquís tend to eat more, of course, because moistened food tastes so much better.
Here is my main complaint: Females and males who don't chant eat early in the evening. This gives them a chance to relax and enjoy the velvety darkness of night. Calling males, on the other hand, have to chant for hours and cannot feed until early morning. Because of this, chanting males get less to eat.
I am a chanting male, AND I AM ALWAYS HUNGRY!! Last night all I found was one measly ant, and a runt of an ant at that! My stomach is never full! I'm sick and tired of letting the lizards eat all the good daytime food. And I’m sick and tired of letting our females and those males who are too lazy to chant get the best nighttime morsels. I demand a change!!! Chanting males must be allowed to start competing with the lizards by day. Either that or female and non-chanting male frogs must let us hunt first in the evenings.
Chanting males unite! If you agree with me, let me know. Contact me:
Tabonuco Tree with Red and Yellow Ribbons