We expand the description of the genus Mazarunia Kullander, 1990, explore morphological diagnostic characters for the genus and for its sister-group relationship with Guianacara Kullander & Nijssen, 1989 in a phylogenetic context, expand the description of M. mazarunii and describe two new species. Mazarunia can be diagnosed by the combination of numerous anatomical traits, including the unique loss of infraorbital 6, the configuration of the first epibranchial in two of the species, a well-developed posteroventral lateral expansion of the palatine that is largely contiguous with the ectopterygoid, the absence of a suture between the hyomandibular and the metapterygoid, the absence of an interarcual cartilage, fourth ceratobranchial with 2 or 3 tooth plates, a caudally scaled interoperculum, equal-sized scales in the ventral and lateral chest regions, a simple, disjunct pattern of lateral line squamation, and smooth preopercle, supracleithrum and extrascapula. Species of Mazarunia can be further distinguished from species of their sistergenus Guianacara by their distinct color patterns. Mazarunia charadrica, new species, can be distinguished from other species of Mazarunia, among other characters, by approximately equal uncinate process and anterior arm and reduced anteroventral expansion of epibranchial 1 (vs. uncinate process narrower and complete anteroventral expansion in the other two species), a dorso-ventrally flattened maxillary process of the palatine (vs. cylindrical in the other two species), cycloid (vs. ctenoid) scales in the opercular, postorbital, lateral chest and anal-genital regions, the absence of a mid-lateral spot, and a diffuse dark area covering the dorsal portion of the head giving the impression of a “black cap”. Mazarunia charadrica has a unique juvenile pattern of seven vertical dark bars partially preserved in adults. Bars 3-6 in antero-caudal direction are most visible in juveniles and medium-sized specimens but become fainter and almost disappear in adults. Many specimens show only bar number 3 (midlateral bar). Mazarunia mazarunii can be distinguished from all other species of Mazarunia by the presence of two foramina (vs. one) on the lateral face of the ascending process of the premaxilla, a lachrymal bone that is longer than deep (vs. deeper than long), an infraorbital 3 that is contiguous but not overlapping with the lachrymal (vs. overlapping), ctenoid scales (vs. cycloid) on the subopercle, interopercle and chest, and by its unique coloration, including complete suborbital and supraorbital stripes, and being the only species of Mazarunia with a discernible lateral band formed by the mid-line blotching pattern associated with lateral bars. In large adults, M. mazarunii has a black or dark bar behind the head that produces the impression of a collar. Mazarunia pala, new species, can be distinguished from its congeners by the absence of a parhypurapophysis, the presence of a dorsal-fin scaly pad with ctenoid scales (vs. no scaly pad in M. charadrica and M. mazarunii), a small suborbital stripe limited to the preopercle, the absence of clearly discernible lateral bars on the body, and by its general pinkish coloration with midlateral spot as the only melanic marking. All known species of Mazarunia are restricted to the upper reaches of the Mazaruni River basin in Guyana.
López-Fernández, H., Taphorn, D.C. & Liverpool, E.A. (2012): Phylogenetic diagnosis and expanded description of the genus Mazarunia Kullander, 1990 (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the upper Mazaruni River, Guyana, with description of two new species. Neotropical Ichthyology, 10 (3): 465-486.