Original description as Cynotilapia axelrodi:
- Burgess, Warren. 1976. "Studies on the family Cichlidae: 7. Cynotilapia axelrodi, a new species of mbuna from Lake Malawi (Pisces: Cichlidae)". Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine. v. 25; n. 2; pp. 37-44 (crc01029)
Conservation: Cynotilapia axelrodi is evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species as (VU) vulnerable (2006).