Fruits and flowers of the invasive seagrass Halophila stipulacea in the Caribbean Sea

Demian A. Willette, Loyola Marymount University


While the seagrass Halophila stipulacea reproduces both sexually and asexually in its native range, reproduction is largely asexual in its invasive range in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean Seas. Here we make the first report of fruit-bearing H. stipulacea in the Caribbean. Although the lack of reports of H. stipulacea fruit could be the consequence of past survey effort, multiple recent reports of both flowers and fruit across the invasive range strongly suggest that introductions of H. stipulacea in the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean included both sexes of this dioecious seagrass. This finding may have important implications for the future dispersal, survival, and maintenance of the non-native population.