Original description as Melanochromis melanopterus:
- Trewavas, Ethelwynn. 1935. "A Synopsis of the Cichlid Fishes of Lake Nyasa". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. Series 10; pp. 65-118 (crc00118)
- Melanochromis mellitus Johnson, 1976, with type locality at Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi. Determiner: Konings-Dudin et al., 2009
Conservation: Melanochromis melanopterus is evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species as (LC) least concern (2006). It is very common at the Maleri and Mbenji islands and a rather common cichlid at most other localities.