Original description as Cheonda modesta:
- Garman, Samuel. 1881. "New and little-known reptiles and fishes in the museum collections". Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 8(3):85-93 (ffm01650)
Conservation: Gila modesta is evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species as (CR) critically endangered (1996).