Original description as Tigoma purpurea:
- 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. 8:165-213 (ffm04542)
Conservation: Gila purpurea is evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species as (VU) vulnerable (1996).