This species is known only from southernmost Papua New Guinea from sea-level up to 600m asl (although in fact almost all records are from near sea-level, and higher-elevation records might refer to wanderers or non-self-sustaining populations (F. Kraus pers. comm.). There are records from Fergusson, Goodenough and Normanby islands in the D'Entrecasteaux Group, the Pini Range at the west end of Milne Bay, and the southern Owen Stanley Mountains in Milne Bay Province. It could possibly occur a little more widely in extreme southeastern New Guinea, but it is not likely to be very widespread (F. Kraus pers. comm.). Its area of occupancy is probably only a very small proportion of its extent of occurrence.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is associated slow- and faster-flowing streams, ditches, and Pandanus swamps, in disturbed grassy habitats and villages (Kraus and Allison, 2007). The frogs are encountered sitting within watercourses or alongside
their edges, but never even a few meters away in adjacent forest (Kraus and Allison, 2007). Animals from sea-level in the D’Entrecasteaux islands occupied areas within a few metres of the sea and at least one of these streams on Normanby Island was subject to tidal flux (Kraus and Allison, 2007). Although it can clearly adapt to anthropogenic habitats, there is probably a limit to the amount of disturbance that it can tolerate (F. Kraus pers. comm.).
It is an uncommon species, occurring sparsely and in moderate numbers (F. Kraus pers. comm.). The D'Entrecasteaux Islands seem to be the species' stronghold, but on the New Guinea mainland in Milne Bay Province it has not been found in several locations otherwise appear to be suitable for it (F. Kraus pers. comm.).
Although this species can adapt to certain anthropogenic habitats, it has a small range, sparse numbers, and is restricted to elevations that tend to be moderately to heavily disturbed by humans. Its status is therefore of concern.
It is not known from any protected areas.
Fred Kraus 2008. Hylarana waliesa. In: IUCN 2014