This species is known to occur in three localities on the Araucaria Plateau in extreme northeastern and northern Rio Grande do Sul (municipalities of São Francisco de Paula, 950 m asl, and Machadinho, 760 m asl) and western Santa Catarina (municipality of Seara, 550 m asl). Specimens from El Soberbio (department Guaraní, 190 m asl) in the Argentinean province of Misiones, cited as P. imitatrix, are also referred to this species in view of its characteristic dorsal pattern (Kwet and Solé 2008). It may also occur in south and southeastern Paraguay, but this requires verification. However, it is thought to have a wider distribution than currently acknowledged, and may occur over the entire range of the Serra Geral and adjacent regions of northern and northeastern Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná and eastern Misiones province (Kwet and Solé 2008). It is thought to occur between 150 and 1,100 m asl (Kwet and Solé 2008).
Habitat and Ecology
This is an arboreal species occurring in mountainous and submountainous ranges and inhabiting primary and secondary subtropical rainforests and forest edges, including Araucaria forests. A nocturnal, explosive breeder, this species breeds in still permanent water bodies in the forest or at the forest edge. Breeding occurs during the summer months (December to February). Eggs and larvae of the new species are not yet known (Kwet and Solé 2008).
This appears to be a very rare species throughout its distribution range (Kwet and Solé 2008). However, it is possible that it may not be easily detected given its arboreal habits, so it could be more common than currently thought (A. Kwet pers. comm. June 2009).
It is thought that this species may be sensitive to habitat disturbance (Kwet and Solé 2008). In Rio Grande do Sul there is deforestation due to soy plantations, reforestation with wood (pine and eucalyptus) plantations and flooding of native forests due to the development of hydroelectric dams (e.g., Usina Hidroelétrica Machadinho) (A. Kwet pers. comm. June 2009).
This species occurs at a research and conservation centre, the Centro de Pesquisas e Conservação da Natureza (CPCN) Pró Mata (Kwet and Solé 2008). It is also known from Parque Florestal Estadual do Turvo, municipality of Derrubadas, Rio Grande do Sul (A. Kwet pers. comm. June 2008).
The taxonomic status of the population in São Bento do Sul is uncertain (A. Kwet pers. comm. June 2009). Was confused with Trachycephalus imitatrix (Miranda-Ribeiro, 1926) prior to its naming.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2009. Trachycephalus dibernardoi. In: IUCN 2014