This species has been collected from several localities in southeastern Papua New Guinea, including in Milne Bay Province and a single site in Central Province (Kraus and Allison, 2006). In Milne Bay Province it has been recorded from the Cloudy Mountains, Owen Stanley Mountains, Fergusson Island and Normanby Island (Kraus and Allison, 2006). It has been recorded near Aieme Creek in Central Province (Kraus and Allison, 2006). It has been recorded from sea-level up to 1,500m asl, but most records are from 300m to 1,000m asl (Kraus and Allison, 2006).
Habitat and Ecology
This species is generally found in closed-canopy lowland and mid-elevation tropical moist forest (Kraus and Allison, 2006). Animals have also been collected at sea-level in a sago swamp (on Normanby Island) and from more open montane forest (1,500m asl) dominated by Metrosideros (Mytaceae) trees (Kraus and Allison, 2006). The species occurs widely through the forest, with no tendency to cluster near streams, unlike some other members of the genus (Kraus and Allison, 2006). The species can be observed fully exposed at night perching on vegetation, and during a drought they have been found hiding in moist soil beneath rocks, close to streams (Kraus and Allison, 2006). It can survive in somewhat degraded, secondary forest, but it doesn't like open areas (F. Kraus, pers. comm.). The species presumably breeds by direct development, without dependence on water.
It is a very common species (F. Kraus, pers. comm.).
This species is reasonably adaptable with much extensive habitat through its range, so it is unlikely to be significantly threatened.
It is not known from any protected areas. Additional studies are needed into the distribution, abundance, breeding biology, threats and general ecology of this species.
Further taxonomic studies are needed to determine the status of populations from the D'Entrecasteaux Islands. Kraus and Allison (2006) tentatively included these populations under Cophixalus variabilis until additional recordings of calls from D'Entrecasteaux Islands become available.
Fred Kraus 2008. Cophixalus variabilis. In: IUCN 2014