Scientists Make Profile for Bolivia’s Loneliest Frog

‘Romeo’ the Sehuencas water frog may be the last surviving member of his species

Romeo02_Photo by Matias Careaga (1).jpg
Matias Careaga

True love doesn’t always come easy, especially when you’re the last known member of your species. Just ask Romeo, a Sehuencas water frog who lives at Bolivia’s Cochabamba Natural History Museum. For the past nine years, Romeo has been emitting plaintive mating calls, but scientists fear that there are no mates left for the lovelorn amphibian. In a last ditch effort to help the little guy out—and hopefully preserve the future of his species—researchers are scouring streams and rivers for a lady friend for Romeo. As the BBC reports, they have come up with a creative way to draw attention to their efforts: they made Romeo a profile.

“I'm a pretty simple guy,” Romeo’s profile reads. “I tend to keep to myself and have the best nights just chilling at home, maybe binge-watching the waters around me. I do love food, though, and will throw a pair of pants on and get out of the house if there's a worm or snail to be eaten!”

Romeo isn’t particularly picky about potential mates, though his profile notes that he has a preference for stocky builds and females who are between two and three inches tall. He is not interested in smokers, but is OK with moderate drinkers.

The frog’s profile links to a donation page, which is part of a campaign to raise $15,000 to help biologists search areas where Sehuencas water frogs were once plentiful. will match all donations made between February 9 and Valentine’s Day.

As Zoë Schlanger notes in Quartz, amphibians have been particularly hard hit by what some scientists are calling the “sixth mass extinction.” Around half of all amphibian species are in decline, and a third face extinction. Sehuencas water frogs, which are endemic to the eastern Andes of Bolivia, have been all but decimated by habitat loss, water pollution and the deadly disease Chytridiomycosis, which may be contributing to the decline of frogs across the globe. 

If researchers can find a mate for Romeo, they may be able to save Sehuencas water frogs from extinction. The critters tend to live around 15 years. Romeo is 10, which still gives him some time to settle down and start a family.

“We don't want him to lose hope,” Arturo Munoz, a conservation scientist, told the Agence France-Presse, according to the BBC. "We continue to remain hopeful that others are out there so we can establish a conservation breeding program to save this species.”

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