Original description as Tilapia esculenta:
- Graham, M.. 1928. "Tilapia esculenta, a new species of cichlid fish from the Victoria Nyanza, with notes on the habits of this species and the nearly-related Tilapia variabilis, Blgr". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. (Ser. 10) v. 2; n. 8. pp. 209-213 (crc01224)
Conservation: Oreochromis esculentus is evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species as (CR) critically endangered (2006).