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  Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles

The Journal of Herpetology - Instructions for Authors

01 January 2012 Revision

General Information

The Journal of Herpetology is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles four times a year. We publish work from around the world. Although all submissions must be in American English, we welcome an additional, second-language abstract.

Recent Changes

1. The Journal of Herpetology normally publishes manuscripts that are no longer than 6000 words, including title, text, appendices, tables, figures, and legends. Shorter communications, intended to provide an outlet for scientific information that is data-driven but perhaps not of the scope or depth of regular manuscripts, are also accepted. These are typically under 4000 words long. Papers on captive breeding, new techniques or sampling methods, limited (anecdotal or isolated) natural history observations, geographic range extensions, and essays should be submitted to our sister journal, Herpetological Review.

2. All references for citations of taxonomic authorities must be given in full in the Literature Cited section. If taxonomy has changed in the last 10 years, the former name of the organism must also be presented at the first use of the name.

3. A new section called “Policy” is intended for work (typically reviews) focusing on policy related to the herpetological sciences. For example, see a recent example in JH 2011 vol. 45:134–141on invasive herpetofauna.

4. A new section called “long-term perspectives” is intended for work spanning several decades. Publication in this section is by invitation only.

5. We now encourage the inclusion of a second-language abstract in addition to the English version. The abstract must be submitted in the chosen language and will be subject to peer review along with the manuscript.

6. Formatting for the Literature Cited section has changed, please carefully follow the instructions provided below.

7. Manuscripts that do not follow the formatting and directions presented here or are grammatically unacceptable will be rejected prior to peer review. Manuscripts must be submitted electronically using the web-based submission site. DO NOT email files to the editors.

Language and Grammar

We require proper English grammar and syntax for all manuscripts. Regardless of country of origin, we recommend that you ask a colleague to read the manuscript prior to submission, as an independent reader can often identify embarrassing problems before the review process begins. This is particularly important if your native language is not English. Finding an English-speaking colleague to provide a pre-submission review of your work, even if not in your area of expertise, will likely smooth the review process. Manuscripts that are badly grammatically flawed will be returned to authors without review. To facilitate the publication of work from non-English speaking countries, scientists affiliated with SSAR provide a free service of pre-submission review. Contact details for these volunteers can be found at:



The Journal of Herpetology demands high ethical standards. Submitted work must not include plagiarized or falsified data. The SSAR Ethics Statement should be consulted prior to submitting manuscripts. Authors are responsible for the legal and ethical acquisition and treatment of study animals. Minimally, these follow the joint herpetological society Guidelines for Use of Live Amphibians and Reptiles in Field Research. In addition, the Acknowledgments section must list the numbers of all collection or research permits required at the study location, export and import permits needed to move specimens across country borders, and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval for the care of animals and study procedures used. When submitting their work, authors are required to certify that all necessary procedures were followed. Submitted studies that deviate from acceptable practices will be rejected.


Suitable Topics

The Journal of Herpetology accepts manuscripts on all aspects of the biology of amphibians and reptiles. We encourage authors to submit manuscripts that test hypotheses, address theoretical issues, and assess aspects of the behavior, conservation, ecology, herpetological education, morphology, physiology, and systematics in a thoughtful, quantitative way. Reviews and policy papers that provide new insight on the herpetological sciences are also welcome. Focus sections that combine papers on related topics are normally determined by the Editors. Publication in the Long Term Perspectives section is by invitation only. Papers on captive breeding, new techniques or sampling methods, anecdotal or isolated natural history observations, geographic range extensions, and essays should be submitted to Herpetological Review. If you are not sure, contact the editors before submitting your work.


Manuscript Preparation

Submitting a manuscript in the correct format reduces turnaround time and reduces costs to the Society. Please follow the instructions provided below carefully. For additional examples of appropriate formatting and style, see a current issue of the journal. Manuscripts that are not formatted correctly may be rejected prior to peer review.


Overall Document Format

The Journal of Herpetology publishes manuscripts that are no longer than 6000 words, including title, abstract, and text. We welcome shorter communications, intended to provide an outlet for scientific work that is data-driven but of more limited scope or depth than regular manuscripts. If you are submitting a shorter communication (under 4000 words), please indicate that in your cover letter. However, we no longer use a different format for printed articles of different lengths. Consult the editors before submitting a manuscript longer than 6000 words.

In preparing your manuscript:

  • Use the active voice. Example “We studied…” not “… was studied”
  • Double-space the entire manuscript, including literature cited, figure legends, table legends, and table contents
  • Provide 2.5 cm (1 inch) margins on all sides
  • Use12 point font size
  • Number all manuscripts pages consecutively
  • Provide line numbering starting at the title page and continuing to the end of the document
  • Left-justify the entire document
  • Do not break words and hyphenate at the end of lines
  • If you use bibliographic software to format the citations, remove the fields from the submission copy (be sure to keep a copy of the original document containing the fields for revision purposes)
  • Use italics only for names of genera and species, and for appropriate headings as indicated below. Do not use italics or bold-face for emphasis; instead, reword sentences to provide appropriate emphasis
Manuscript Sections and Formatting

Manuscripts are usually arranged in the following order: 1. Title page (title, author’s name, author’s address); 2. Abstract (a second-language abstract may be added); 3. Key words (no more than eight, not including words that appear in the title); 4. Text (with sections described below); Literature cited; Appendices (not normally used); 5. Tables; 6. Figure legends; and 7. Figures. Alternatively, Figures and Tables (complete with legends) may be placed in the manuscript text, in the approximate place where they should appear in print.


Title Page.- The title page should include, in this order:

             “JOURNAL OF HERPETOLOGY”, centered

             The title, centered, which should be informative and concise

             The names of all authors, centered, is small caps. Use numbered superscripts to distinguish author addresses. Do not leave a space between author name and superscript. Use commas to separate author information, placing them outside any superscripts. Example: Regina Smith1,2, Don Q. de la. Mancha, III3, and R. James Jones1,4

             The addresses of all authors, left-justified, matching superscript numbers above. Do not abbreviate states or provide postal codes. Do name the country of residence (example: Alaska, USA). If different, authors may indicate present addresses. An e-mail address for the corresponding author is required, and e-mail addresses for other authors are recommended. Example:


1 Department of Herpetology, Japanese Museum of Natural History, Kyoto, Japan

2 Corresponding author. E-mail: Regina_S@JMNH.Sci

3 Department of Zoology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

4 Present address: Departamento de Zoología, Universidad de México, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


       LRH (left running head). Spell out the name of a single author (example: Regina Smith); Use initials and last name for two authors (example: R. Smith and R. Weasley); Use “et al.” for more than two authors (example: R. Smith et al.)

       RRH (right running head). Provide an abbreviated title of no more than 50 characters, including the spaces between words. Example: if the full title is “Ecology and Reproduction of the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) in Kansas”, the abbreviated title might be “Ecology of timber rattlesnakes


English-Language Abstract.- The abstract should begin on a new page and summarize the major points of the paper clearly and concisely without requiring the reader to refer to the text. It is limited to 250 words.

       The abstract heading should be indented and in small caps, followed by a period and an em-dash (example: Abstract.— The Boreal Toad…)


Second-Language Abstract.- An additional abstract may be given just below the mandatory English-language abstract. It should be an exact translation of the English version and follow the same rules.

       The abstract heading should be indented and in small caps, followed by a period and an em-dash. Use the equivalent word to “abstract” in the language chosen (example: Resumen.— El sapo...)


Key Words.- Used for indexing the article in online databases, key words should be placed on the same page as the abstract(s). Careful selection will improve the visibility of your article.

       Up to eight key words may be used to identify major aspects of the manuscript, such as the key methods, key variables, study locations, study organisms, or theory addressed.

       Do not repeat words that appear in the title

       Key words should be listed in alphabetical order and separated by semicolons

       Only the initial word in each term should be capitalized, unless it is a formal name. The phrase "Key words:" should be italicized, including the colon

Example: “Key words: Boreal Toad; Colorado; Disease; Survival; Temporary emigration”


Introduction.- The text should begin after the key words. Avoid unnecessary duplication with material covered in the Discussion.

             Do not include a heading for this section


Other sections.- Be concise but clear.

       The title should be centered, in small caps, and each major word should begin with a large capital letter. Example: Materials and Methods

       Secondary titles should be indented. Each major word should be capitalized and italicized. Follow the title with a period and an em-dash. Example: “Study Sites.—”

       In any italicized heading, scientific names of species should not be italicized so that they stand out from other text. Example: “Analysis of paternity in Crotalus atrox”

             Do not use footnotes in the text

             When two Figures or Tables are cited, use a comma to separate numbers. Example: “Figs. 6, 7; Tables 2, 3”


In-Text Citations.- Please read this section carefully, as errors in citation formats are relatively common.

      Do not bold, underline, or italicize text

      Cite references in chronological order, using a semicolon to separate citations and a comma to separate author names from dates. Example: “(Smith, 1975; Black, 1987)”

      If there are multiple same-year references by the same author, list them as “(Smith, 2001a,b)”

      Provide names for up to two authors “(Jones and Smith, 1987)”. For three or more authors, spell out the name of the first author, followed by "et al." Example: “(Jones et al., 1990)”

       If there are multiple same-year references by an author with various coauthors, list single-author references before those with a coauthor. List two-author references first and multiple coauthors last. Example: “(Smith, 1998; Smith and Jones, 1998; Smith et al., 1998)”

       If there are multiple references by the same author and coauthor, or multiple references with the same first author and two or more coauthors, list them in chronological order regardless of the number of authors or their identity. Example: “(Smith and Jones, 1848; Smith et al., 1856a,b; Smith and Brown, 1858)”

       Limit citation strings to 3 or 4 of the most pertinent references

       Papers accepted for publication should be cited as “(Smith, in press)” and placed in the Literature Cited. Manuscripts which have not been accepted should be cited as “(Smith, unpubl. data)” and should not be placed in the Literature Cited. Unpublished observations should be cited as “(Potter, pers. obs.)” and should not be placed in the Literature Cited

       Non peer-reviewed sources such as meeting abstracts and most web sites should be avoided if possible. However, dissertations and theses should be cited if the information has not also appeared in refereed form

       For all commercial software mentioned in the text, specify the version and source Example: “(SPSS 13.0, IBM)”. For all commercial equipment provide the model and manufacturer. Example: “HOBO U23 Pro v2 External Temperature Data Logger (Onset Computer Corporation)”. Do not include either in the Literature Cited. For non-commercial software such as Program MARK, provide a citation in the text (in this case, White and Burnham, 1999) and in the Literature Cited

       Peer-reviewed electronic resources should be cited in the same manner as paper-based ones

       Use WebCite® (a free service) to archive non-peer-reviewed web sites first. Enter the URL you want to cite at The system will create a "snapshot" of the webpage for future access. Cite as you would other sources. Example: “(Smith and Brown, 2011)”

       Whenever possible, place all citations at the end of the sentence rather than interspersed with the text. Example: “Rattlesnakes are excellent subjects for research in many areas of biology (Klauber, 1972; Schaeffer, 1996; Schaeffer et al., 1996; Beaupre and Duvall, 1998)”


Common and Scientific Names

Both common and scientific names vary in time and space. To maximize the ability of readers to identify study organisms across the world and over time but allow authors maximum flexibility in choosing their preferred authorities:       

For each species, provide a full citation of the taxonomic authority in the Literature Cited       If taxonomy has changed within the past decade, the former name of the organism must be presented at the first use of the name (example: “Aspidocelis (Cnemidophorus) sexlineatus”). Similarly, if your preferred taxonomic hypothesis differs from that of other authors, make sure to include the more commonly used name.   

For standard names of North American species, follow Crother ( or Liner and Casas-Andreu (2008; Herp. Circular 38, SSAR). Standard names for other species should follow an appropriate regional reference if available. Standard names of all reptiles and amphibians should be capitalized (example: Barking Treefrog)



Always spell out a number used at the beginning of a sentence. Example: “Twenty species…”

             Spell out all whole numbers less than 10, except as noted below

             Use Arabic numerals: 

  • For numbers of 10 or greater
  • When the number is followed by a unit of measurement. Example: “9 mm”
  • When the number is a designator. Example: “Experiment 2”
  • When a range of values is given. Example: “2–3 scutes”
  • When numbers of 10 or more are compared to numbers less than 10 within a sentence. Example: “The 7 frogs, 9 salamanders, and 20 lizards that we collected…”
  • For decimal values; if decimal value is less than one, use zero before decimal. Example: “0.5”

             Use commas in numbers with four or more digits (example: 280, but 5,280)

       Avoid excessive significant digits. Example: when measuring length with a ruler where the smallest measurement unit is 1 mm, report mean values as “15.7 mm” and standard deviation as “1.39 mm”

       Numbers or letters in a list should be fully enclosed in parentheses. Example:  “experiments (2), (3) and (4) failed; (1) did not”

             Geographic coordinates can be in any standard format, such as decimal degrees or UTM

             Specify the datum for the geographic coordinates. Example: “datum WGS 84”


Measurement Unites and Abbreviations

Follow the International System of Units (SI) throughout. Abbreviations include:

Linear measurement: Millimeters = mm, Centimeters = cm, Meters = m, Kilometers = km

Volume: Milliliters = mL, Liters = L

Mass: Grams = g, Kilograms = kg

Time: Seconds = s, Minutes = min, Hours = h, Days = d, Week = wk, Month = mo, Years = yr.

For time of day, use 24-hour clock (example: 1300 h)

Date: use Day Month Year with no commas, spelling out the name of the month Example: “7 May 2006”

Temperature: Celsius, with space after number and with a degree symbol before the abbreviation for temperature scale. Example: “30 °C”


Statistical Abbreviations

Do not italicize Greek letters. Examples: α, χ2

       Italicize all other statistical symbols. Examples: r, r2, F, t (as in t-test)

       Sample size: lower case and italicized. Example: “n = 5”

       Mean or average: use “X” (capitalized and italicized) or spell out the word “mean”

       SD = standard deviation, SE = standard error, CI = confidence interval; often indicated as “± 1 SD”, “± 3 SE”, CI = 2.32 – 4.68, etc.

      Degrees of freedom: not italicized. Example: “df = 798”

      Probability: capitalize and italicize. Example: “P = 0.003.” Provide the value, rather than using “NS” or “P > 0.05.” Example: “P = 0.43”


Mathematical Signs and Sybols

Separate mathematical operators by spaces on both sides. Examples: “α = 0.05”; “P < 0.025”; “12 ± 0.02”

Separate a number from a symbol to indicate a mathematical operation. Example: “1 + 1 = 2”

Do not use a space between the “-“ and the “+” when indicating positive or negative values. Examples: “–2 0C”, “+2 mm”

The symbols for “similar to” and "nearly equal to" are not followed by space. Examples: “~12”, “≈24”

     Use “log” for log base x (e.g. log base 10 would be log10 ) and “ln” for natural log


Other Common Abbreviations

Standard abbreviations are listed below. Do not use other abbreviations without first defining them in the text and be consistent in your use throughout the manuscript.

             ca. = "circa" or "around"; lower case, not italicized, followed by period

             cf. = "compare with"; lower case, not italicized, followed by period

             e.g., = "for example"; lower case, not italicized, period after each letter, followed by comma

             i.e., = "that is"; lower case, not italicized, period after each letter, followed by comma

             N = chromosome number; capitalized, not italicized (different from sample size)

             SVL = snout–vent length; define this at first usage

             vs. = "versus"; can be abbreviated in lower case without italics, or can be spelled out

             sp. nov. and gen. nov. = "new species" and "new genus"; lower case, no comma before these terms

             “pers. com.” = “personal communication”

             Spell out full the names of North American states. Example: “Colorado”

             Capitalize and abbreviate the word "figure" (example: “Fig. 1”) except at the beginning of a sentence


Dashes and Hyphenation

Use hyphen (dash) for modifiers and two-word phrases used as an adjective. Examples: “20-ml syringe”, “24-hour clock”, “t-test results”, “life-history strategy”, but “20 ml of water” or “the life history of bullfrogs”

· Do not hyphenate “Non” words. Example: “Nonparametric”

· Other common prefixes such as neo-, co-, re-, are not hyphenated except where necessary to prevent misreading or ambiguity. Example: “relocated” means “moved away”, but “re-located” is used to indicate that a radiotracked individual has been found again

· Avoid using long hyphenated phrases as adjectives For example, avoid “We used black, sticky-sloping-plastic-matting as substrate in the aquaria”

· Use commas to separate clauses, instead of hyphens. Example: “The town, which is more of a village, is the nearest place to buy supplies.”


Other Common Word Usage

Modern word processors include both spellcheckers and grammar correction options, but these are far from perfect. The list below contains some common problems and is far from comprehensive.

· Affect vs. effect: “Affect” is usually used as a verb and means “to influence, or have an effect on” whereas “effect” should be used as a noun that means an outcome or result

· Because vs. since: “Because” usually means “for the reason that” whereas “since” usually means “from a time in the past until now”

· Because of vs. due to: Do not use “due to” instead of “because of”

· Farther vs. further: “Farther” indicates a physical or measurable distance, whereas “further” indicates a figurative distance, such as in advancing, elaborating, or developing an explanation or argument

· Infer vs. imply: “Infer” means to deduce or conclude; “imply” means to hint or suggest.

· That vs. which: Usually, "that" is used with restrictive clauses. Example: “The snakes that we had captured” (the word “that” restricts the snakes being discussed to those that we captured). "Which" is used with nonrestrictive clauses. Example: “The snakes had all eaten frogs, which are common in the area” (the word “which” simply gives additional information about the frogs being discussed)

· While vs. although and whereas: “While” means “at the same time”; “whereas” or “although” should be used to indicate “in spite of” or “even though”

· Therefore vs. thus: “Therefore” usually means “as a consequence” or “for these reasons” whereas “thus” usually means “in this way” or “in that way”

· Data: The word “data” should always be used to indicate the plural (the singular is “datum”). Example: “The data are presented…”

· Comprised of: “comprised of” means “to contain”. For example, “the whole comprises its parts”. “Comprised of” should be avoided

· Different from is preferable to different than because it is consistent with how the word “differ” is typically used. Example: “Method A differs from method B in that…”



If the study involved collection of specimens, provide accession numbers in the text

Use the Standard Symbolic Codes for Institutional Resource Collections in Herpetology and Ichthyology ( for museum abbreviations

For taxonomic papers, see additional specific comments below



The text ends with the acknowledgments section. Be as concise as possible.

Use a secondary heading. Spell “acknowledgments” with no “e” after “g”. Example: “Acknowledgments.—”

Use initials instead of first names for individuals.  Example: “We thank H. Granger…”

Provide the numbers of all collection, research, export, and import permits, as well as Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval


Literature Cited Section

The Literature Cited is one the largest sources of errors. Carefully follow all format instructions and examples below. Check a recent issue if anything remains unclear.


General instructions

       All references cited in the manuscript must appear in full in the Literature Cited section, and all references in the Literature Cited section must be cited in the text of the manuscript

             Do not include personal observations and unpublished manuscripts in this section

             Double space the entire section

             Do not bold, underline, or italicize text other than scientific names

             Do not use manual line breaks or tabs. Use indents instead

             Cite references in alphabetical order. Example: Jones comes before Smith

             References cited in the text as “Smith 2001a,b” should be cited in the same order here.

                          Example: Smith 2001a precedes Smith 2001b


       If there are multiple same-year references by an author with various coauthors, list single-author references before those with a coauthor. List two-author references first and multiple coauthors last. Example: Smith 1998 is first, followed by Smith and Jones 1998, followed by Smith et al. 1998

       If the same author collaborated with different coauthors during the same year, order by the name of the junior authors. Example: Smith and Bell 1998 comes before Smith and Jones 1998. Example: Smith, Bell, and Brown 2000 precedes Smith, Bell, and Jones, 2000

       If there are multiple “et al.” references by the same author, list them in chronological order regardless of the number of authors or their identity. Example: Smith, Bell, Zundermeier, and Jones 1848 comes before Smith, Abrams, and Bell 1856

       Author names should be presented as “Smith, A.B.” or “Smith, A.B., III.” Spell out all author surnames, even if they are repeated from a previous reference

       Always insert a comma before the “and” that precedes the last author. Example: “Smith, A.B., and J.F. Bell” or “Smith, A.B., R.Q. Zundermeier, and J.F. Bell”

       Follow author names with the year of publication. Example: “Smith, A.B. 1769.” If you are using a reprinted version, indicate this by listing both years. Example: “Smith, A.B. 1769 [1996].” For articles that are accepted, state “In press” in place of the year. Example: “Smith, A.B. In press”


Article in a print journal

       Provide the names of journals in full. Do not present issue number. List complete page numbers. Example: “Journal of Herpetology 32:246–257”

       Example: Baird, T.A. 2004. Reproductive coloration in female collared lizards, Crotaphytus collaris, stimulates courtship by males. Herpetologica 60:337–348


Article in an on-line only journal

       Follow the format above but also provide the URL for the article

       Example: O’Donnell, R.P., and A.P. Rayburn. 2011. Biases in the protection of peripheral anuran populations in the United States. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 6:91-98.


Chapter in a book

      Do not name the publication city. Provide the publication country.

      Example: Smith, A.T. 1994. Systematics of frogs and toads. Pp. 52–65 in J. Black and M. Lee (Eds.), Systematics of Amphibians and Reptiles. University of Kansas Press, USA



      Do not provide the publication city. Do name the publication country

      Example: Smith, A.T., and J. Jones. 1995. Physiology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Kluwer, Netherlands


Thesis or dissertation

      Indicate the degree and university

      Example: Smith, A.T. 1991. Behavioral Ecology of Turtles. Ph.D. Dissertation, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil


Non-commercial software

      Provide a named citation to the definitive description of the software

      Example: for Program MARK: White, G.C., and K.P. Burnham. 1999. Program MARK: Survival estimation from populations of marked animals. Bird Study 46 Supplement:120-138


Non peer-reviewed technical report

      Use only where unavoidable

      Example: USGS (United States Geological Survey). 1998. National water quality assessment (NAWQA) program, water quality in the Ozark plateaus. Circular 1158


Non peer-reviewed print media

      Use only where unavoidable

      Example: Guam Economic Review. 1998. Statistical highlights. Guam Economic Review 20:11–32


Online reference

      Use WebCite® ( to archive the web site. Provide the regular citation, followed by the archival site provided by the service

Example: Frost, D.R. 2004. Amphibian species of the world: an online referenceAvailable at  Archived by

WebCite at on 4 July 2011


Appendices follow the Literature Cited section. They are optional and should be used sparingly. Appendices include detailed information not essential to the text but useful to readers interested in specific methods, formulae, computer code, large data sets, or the species examined in taxonomic papers. When used, the primary heading would be: APPENDIX (numbered I, II, III as needed), followed by secondary headings as needed.



Tables are used to provide numerical information in a condensed form that does not duplicate material listed in the text or displayed in Figures.

       Table files MUST be .xls or .doc, NOT a graphic format such as .pdf or .jpg. They may be uploaded as individual files or included in the main document file.

       Use the same font size, double spacing, and abbreviations as elsewhere in the text

       Each table should appear on a separate page. Tables should be numbered consecutively using Arabic numeral that match references to them in the text. Example: “Table 1.—” (note that this text is not indented)

       The legend should be concise but sufficiently detailed so the table can be understood without reference to the text. The legend should appear on the same page and above the table

       Do not use vertical lines

       Only capitalize the initial letter of the first word is capitalized (e.g., “Average length”)

           Do not use footnotes

If a Table is too long to fit on a single page, continue it on additional pages as needed. At the top of each such page, insert the text “Table xx, continued,” followed by an empty line.



Figures are used to provide numerical information in visual form without duplicating material listed in the text or displayed in Tables.

       Figure legends should be placed together, with three lines of space between each legend, and before the actual figures. They should be numbered in Arabic numerals in the order in which they are cited in the text. Each legend should be concise but sufficiently detailed to be understood without reference to the text

       Each heading should begin with the word “Fig” in small caps, followed by a period and an em-dash. Example: “Fig. 1.—” (note that this text is not indented)

       Use the same font size, double spacing, and abbreviations as elsewhere in the text

       In preparing graphics, follow the guidelines below and those provided by Allen Press (

       Figures with multiple parts should have each part labeled with a capital letters (A, B, C, etc.) and all parts of the figure should be submitted on a single page and in a single file

       Figures may be black-and-white or color. Unless specifically waived, the cost of printing color figures will be charged to the authors

       Prepare Figures at high resolution (minimum requirements: grayscale or color images at 300 dpi, line art at 1200 dpi)

       Submit graphics and artwork at full page size (do not exceed 21.5 × 28 cm). Make sure that it is sharp at the submission size. After reduction (usually to one or two columns), lettering in printed figures should be 1.5–2.0 mm high and decimals should be clearly visible. Authors will be charged for the extra work if the press has to request better version in the typesetting stage

       All axes of graphs should be labeled, with a larger font size used for major labels than for minor or quantitative labels

       Include a scale to indicate distance or size whenever appropriate

       Do not use pictures taken from other sources without express permission. It is the responsibility of the authors to ensure that all copyright issues have been addressed. Please check a recent issue for additional examples.


Special Considerations for Taxonomy Papers

Papers on taxonomy follow the sequence of sections given above. The instructions that follow closely match those provided by Herpetologica. See recent journal issues for examples.

       Consult the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature ( for guidelines to taxonomic descriptions. However, we encourage authors to follow closely the style, sequence, and terminology of other recent or major works on that group, in order to facilitate comparisons

       Definitions of terms, museum abbreviations, and other codes used in text should be given in the Materials and Methods section. For standard museum codes see

       When a broad review is needed, as with analysis of variation in widespread species, present such material prior to the formal taxon description

       Taxon descriptions may appear in the Results section or follow the Discussion as a separate section entitled Systematic Accounts

  • Only new names are given in bold. Example: “Uraeotyphlus gansi sp. nov.”
  • Below the name indicate, in parentheses, where illustrations and related information may be found. Example: “(Figs. 1–4, Tables 1, 2)”
  • Next, list prior names, in chronological order. Example:

Uraeotyphlus malabaricus (Beddome, 1870) in part; Boulenger (1882:92)

Uraeotyphlus oxyurus (Duméril and Bibron, 1841) in part; Pillai and Ravichandran (1999:74–77, map IX)

  • Next provide information about the holotype. Example: “Holotype.— HUJ 3498, male, 20 October 2011, Jerusalem, Israel, Y.L. Werner (Fig. 1)”
  • Information about Paratypes follows, organized by sex or geographical locality
  • Other specimens examined can be listed here, under “Referred specimens”, if the list if brief. Use an Appendix for a lengthy list. For all specimens listed, include locality data and museum numbers of all specimens, but not date of collection
  • The following headings are also used, in this order:
    • Diagnosis.— A concise summary of distinguishing characteristics and diagnostic comparisons to related species or ones with which the new taxon may be confused
    • Description.— Not required, but may be used to provide concise descriptions of as many characteristics as needed
    • Description of holotype.— An explicit description of all aspects of the type specimen, following the style of leading relevant authorities. Include informations on linear measurements, color in preservative, and other relevant aspects
    • Variation.— A summary (often in Table form) of evident variation among the holotype, paratypes, and other referred specimens, including reference to sexual dimorphism, geographic variation, or ontogenetic changes
    • Color in life.— A brief description of color in life, if known. We encourage publication of color images of new taxa
    • Etymology.— Brief description of the origin and meaning of the new name and the rationale for choosing it
    • Distribution.— Summary of the distribution of the new taxon
    • Natural history.—, Ecology.—, or similar heading for presenting information on habits, habitats, life history, etc. This section may be combined with the previous one and named “Distribution and ecology"
    • Tadpole.— Description of the tadpole or larval amphibian stage, if known and relevant
Remarks.— Concise discussion of any additional aspects of the new taxon that are deemed important, such as evolution and phylogenetic relationships



Manuscript Submission and Processing

Manuscripts must be submitted electronically using the web-based submission site. DO NOT email files to the editors. Registration (free) is required to access the submission site. Although you do not need to be a member of SSAR to access the site or to submit a manuscript, we strongly encourage all authors to join the Society.

You will be required to enter manuscript information, author names, addresses, and affiliations, and answer several questions before you can enter manuscript files. The web site can accept a range of text and graphic formats such as *.doc and *.JPG.

To prevent problems,

       Ensure that your document is formatted with North American letter page size (8.5 by 11 inches; 21.6 by 27.9 cm). Conversion to PDF format is otherwise likely to result in errors.

       Manuscripts can also be uploaded as PDF files, but these must be accompanied by the original word-processor files

       Unless you have included your Figures as part of your main text document, upload each Figure as a separate graphics file. Figures should be in TIFF, GIF, JPG, Postscript, or EPS formats, not in PDF files

The online system will automatically merge the files, in the order identified by the author, into a single PDF file for use by the Editor, Associate Editors, and reviewers

You must approve the converted file before it is released for review. The conversion process may take several minutes


Processing Manuscripts Can Be A Lengthy Endeavour

Submitted manuscripts are first checked for a general fit to the guidelines presented here. Manuscripts that do not follow this document will be returned to authors for corrections, and may be rejected outright. Manuscripts that meet the guidelines are passed on to the Editors, who assign an Associate Editor to handle the manuscript, identify reviewers, and recommend acceptance or rejection. The journal web site automatically updates as these stages are reached – please check the web site for the status of your manuscript. The initial review process currently averages three months, and about half of all manuscripts submitted are rejected. Most other manuscripts require some changes before the Associate Editor recommends acceptance. We strive to minimize processing time. Please be patient and limit queries regarding status to cases where a manuscript has been in review for more than six months. The editors will contact authors as soon as a decision is made about their work.


Manuscripts are generally published in the order of acceptance, and time from acceptance to publication is approximately nine months. A few months prior to publication, authors will be contacted by the publisher with requests for clarifications or to review the page proofs. Original artwork and photographs may be requested at that time, as well as a copyright release. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to distribute the proofs to coauthors. Each author should check proofs carefully against the edited manuscript. The corresponding author should collate the corrections and return the corrected proofs to the Editor within 48 h to prevent a delay in publication. The editorial staff of The Journal of Herpetology does not have access to page proofs. Hence, authors must assume full responsibility for detecting errors at this stage. Authors will be charged for changes in proofs other than correction of printer’s and editor’s errors.


Proofs, Page Charges, Copyright Assignment, and Reprints

Authors will be contacted by the press a few months prior to their manuscript being published. At that time they will receive:

       Page proofs, which must be returned with any corrections within a few days

       A notice of the page charges assessed to them. Rates are posted. SSAR members pay reduced page charges. Color figures are expensive to print and the extra cost must be covered by authors unless other arrangements have been made. The charge for printing color figures varies, depending on the number of other color figures already slated for an issue, but may exceed $100 per figure. Color figures may be published online only (black-and-white will be used in the print edition). The charge for online publication of color figures is $75 per figure

       A copyright form, which must be returned with the page charge payment

       A reprint order. Once the issue has been printed, paper reprints and/or high-quality PDF files of articles may be purchased from Allen Press using the form provided. SSAR members have access to electronic versions of the journals, including their own papers. Membership information can be found HERE.