Original description as Haplochromis phytophagus:
- Greenwood, Peter Humphry. 1966. "Two new species of Haplochromis (Pisces, Cichlidae) from Lake Victoria". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. (Ser. 13), v. 8(n. 89), pp. 303-318 (crc00095)
Conservation: Haplochromis phytophagus is evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species as (DD) data deficient (2010).