Original description as Tilapia zebra:
- Boulenger, George Albert. 1899. "A revision of the African and Syrian fishes of the family Cichlidae. Part II". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. pp 98-143 (1-47); (crc00051)
- Metriaclima melabranchion Stauffer, Bowers, Kellogg & McKaye, 1997, with type locality at Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi, Malawi, Africa, 1-5 m. Determiner: Konings et al., 1999
Conservation: Metriaclima zebra is evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species as (LC) least concern (2006). Metriaclima zebra is nowhere rare or threatened. It is one of the most common mbuna in its range.