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Two new Phenacogrammus are described from the Ndzaa River, a small left-bank tributary of the Mfimi-Lukenie River in the central Congo basin. They share with P. deheyni, a congener endemic to the Cuvette Centrale to the north, a prominent anterior expansion of the first pleural rib; a feature interpreted here as a synapomorphy diagnostic for this species assemblage. The two new species are readily differentiated from P. deheyni based on differences in pigmentation patterning, a lower number of scales in longitudinal series (26–28 vs. 29–33) and a longer head length (m. 24.9% SL vs. 21.7 and 23.2% SL). Phenacogrammus flexus, new species, is distinguished from all congeners in the possession of 6 (vs. 7) supraneural bones, and a characteristic zigzag pattern of black pigmentation along and below the midline extending from the posterior border of the opercle to the base of the caudal peduncle. While no unambiguous morphological autapomorphies have been located to diagnose P. concolor, new species, it is nonetheless readily distinguished from all congeners, except P. deheyni and P. flexus, in the possession of a prominent anterior expansion of the first pleural rib. It differs from both P. deheyni and P. flexus in the absence of a dominant pigmentation patterning over the flanks and caudal peduncle. Additionally, it differs from P. flexus in a shallower body depth (m. 24.9% vs. 27.0% SL) and in the possession of 7 (vs. 6) supraneurals.
The three species exhibit extensive divergence in mt-COI sequence (P. flexus vs. P. concolor 10.2%–11%; P. flexus vs deheyni 12.9%–13.5%; P. concolor vs. deheyni 11.3%–12.9%). Furthermore, analysis of shape variation utilizing geometric morphometrics indicates that each species differs significantly in body shape.
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