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Seagrasses > Family Hydrocharitaceae
Hairy spoon seagrass
Halophila decipiens
Family Hydrocharitaceae
updated Mar 14

Where seen? This oval seagrass with hairy leaves is usually seen in deeper waters, and sometimes also on the intertidal.

Hairy spoon seagrass is the only pan-tropical seagrass species and found in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific. This global distribution is believed to be the result of recent colonisation as there is little genetic divergence among the plants. This suggest that the species is capable of long distance dispersal. It is found from deeper waters and also in reef and sandy habitats. It seems tolerant of low light conditions and in very clear waters has been recorded (elsewhere) to depths greater than 50m.

Features: The seagrass has oval leaves that are longer (1-2.5cm) than the width (0.5cm). There are minute serrations on the leaf edge and minute hairs on both sides of the leaf. It has thin, smooth, white rhizomes (underground stems). The leaves emerge in pairs from these rhizomes.

Flowers and fruits: Small green fruits (0.5cm) contain up to 30 tiny seeds. The species sometimes behaves as an annual, growing, flowering, setting seed and dying in a short period of time.

Role in the habitat: This seagrass may be an important food source for marine grazers.

Status and threats: It was first recorded in Singapore in 2008, from specimens found off Pulau Semakau at a depth of about 8m. It has since been sighted at other locations in waters off the Southern islands and on the intertidal in the North.

Changi, May 09

Growing on carpet on Nest mussels.
Changi, Jun 12

Minute hairs on the leaf.

Leaf blade longer than wide .

Pasir Ris Park, Aug 13

Pasir Ris Park, Aug 13

Pasir Ris Park, Aug 13

Hairy spoon seagrass on Singapore shores

Photos of Hairy spoon seagrass for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map



  • Waycott, Michelle (et. al). 2004. A Guide to Tropical Seagrasses of the Indo-West Pacific. 2004. James Cook University. 72 pp.
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