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A revised diagnosis of the pimelodid catfish genus Megalonema is given based on synapomorphic features of the Weberian complex and gas bladder. Megalonema xanthum from the Magdalena River is redescribed. Two new cis-Andean species of Megalonema are described, M. amaxanthum n. sp. from the Amazon River basin, and M. orixanthum n. sp. from the Orinoco River basin. These three species are differentially diagnosed by shape and size of the supraoccipital posterior process, adipose-fin shape,doi:10.1590/s1679-62252008000300018 fatcat:ykyhecmwsfcxra5ywypp3lkqfm