Original description as Haplochromis spilonotus:
- Trewavas, Ethelwynn. 1935. "A Synopsis of the Cichlid Fishes of Lake Nyasa". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. Series 10; pp. 65-118 (crc00118)
Conservation: Protomelas spilonotus is evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species as (LC) least concern (2018). Although Protomelas spilonotus has been collected extensively for the ornamental fish trade and is still a very popular species, there appears no threat to its well-being in the lake. This is probably due to the fact that both male and female reside in close proximity of rocks where fishermen can not employ nets.