Astatotilapia calliptera
(Günther 1894)
Family Cichlidae

Lateral view of the eastern happy
This eastern happy was collected in Palm Beach County, Florida. It is now part of the Florida Museum ichthyology collection, UF 238218. Photo courtesy of Howard L. Jelks, U.S. Geological Survey.

The eastern happy is a member of the cichlid and tilapia family. It has a moderately compressed and slightly elongate body and prominent dark gold stripe from the corner of the mouth to the eye in adults. The body color is olive green to gold with between seven and nine vertical bars that tend to disappear in breeding males. The anal fin is grayish at the base and yellow towards the edge with large, bright orange egg-spots in the male. Breeding males have a bright blue head, lower hind body and caudal peduncle with a bright yellow belly and a blue and red wash in the dorsal and anal fins. The anal fin has three spines, and the caudal fin is rounded to truncated. The eastern happy is known from Hillsboro Canal in Palm Beach County.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Non-indigenous freshwater
  • Florida Distribution — Peninsula drainages
  • River Drainages — the Everglades
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