Original description as Cyprinella formosa:
- Girard, Charles Frederic. 1856. "Researches upon the cyprinoid fishes inhabiting the fresh waters of the United States, west of the Mississippi Valley, from specimens in the museum of the Smithsonian Institution". Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. v. 8, pp. 165-213 (ffm04542)
- Notropis santamariae Evermann & Goldsborough, 1902, with type locality at Small pool near Lake Santa María, Chihuahua, Mexico. Determiner: Chernoff et al., 1982
- Notropis mearnsi Snyder, 1915, with type locality at Río San Bernardino (tributary to Río Yaqui), near monument 77 of the international boundary, Sonora, Mexico. Determiner: Gilbert, 1978
Conservation: Cyprinella formosa is not evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species.