This species is a member of the Halophila ovalis complex. It is listed as a synonym of H. gaudichadii and some consider H. minor as a synonym of H. ovata. Here it is retained as species until the taxonomy is clarified.
This species is widespread and common. Although there are likely localized declines due to coastal development throughout its range, population trends are estimated to be stable. It is listed as Least Concern.
Halophila ovata is found in the Pacific in southern China, Indonesia, and in Papua New Guinea, northern Australia, Fiji and Samoa.
In the Indian Ocean, H. ovata occurs from Shark Bay in Western Australia north through the Timor Sea and across southern Indonesia. This species also occurs in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the east coast of India, and some of the west coast of India, the Lakshadweep Islands and the northern Red Sea.
Australia; China; Egypt; Fiji; India; Indonesia; Papua New Guinea; Samoa
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
This species is fast-growing and pioneering. It is found in a variety of habitats, including sand and sandy mud bottoms, and is often found in exposed areas. Reproduction is mainly vegetative (Jacobs and Dicks 1985). In the Red Sea, it occurs at 20 m depth.
This species is threatened by coastal development and changes in shoreline land-use. It is also affected by water quality from sedimentation, trawling and mechanical damage from boats. These are local threats and are not thought to be causing serious declines on a global scale although they may cause localized declines.