Instructions to authors


(Updated: June 2017)


General information

The South American Journal of Herpetology (SAJH) is an international journal published by the Brazilian Society of Herpetology that aims to provide an effective medium of communication for the international herpetological community. SAJH publishes peer-reviewed original contributions on all subjects related to the biology of amphibians and reptiles, including descriptive, comparative, inferential, and experimental studies and taxa from anywhere in the world, as well as theoretical studies that explore principles and methods.


Manuscript submission and evaluation

All manuscripts must be submitted through the SAJH Peer Track System. Manuscripts are considered on the understanding that authors have complied with the SAJH Ethics Policy.

The criteria for acceptance of articles are research excellence, text clarity, figure quality, and compliance with the guidelines for manuscript preparation. Manuscripts that do not comply with these guidelines will be returned to authors without peer review. Submissions are assigned to Associate Editors who obtain at least two peer reviews. Associate Editors then submit reviews and recommendations to the Senior Editors for final decision. All communication regarding manuscripts is made through electronic correspondence with the corresponding author only.


Special issues

Recognizing the high demand to publish longer, monographic studies, SAJH will consider manuscripts of approximately 125–350 pages (body of text and references, A4 format paper, double-spaced typescript, with 2.5 cm margins) to be published individually as Special Issues. Only a limited number of Special Issues will be published, so authors must contact the Senior Editors for approval prior to submission. Special Issue manuscripts are subjected to the same standards of peer review as regular manuscripts. Due to the additional expenses of printing and mailing Special Issues, authors are required to contribute page charges of R$40 per published page to help offset expenses.



Page-proofs will be sent electronically to the corresponding author. Page-proofs must be returned to the editor within 72 hours. Authors that are unable to meet this deadline must immediately request an extension, which will be granted at the Senior Editors’ discretion depending on production schedule; failure to return the proof within the allotted time will be interpreted as approval with no changes. Only necessary corrections will be permitted. Once page proof is sent to the author, further alterations and/or significant additions of text are permitted only at the author’s expense or in the form of a brief appendix (“Note added in proof”).


Manuscript preparation

Authors are required to pay close attention to the instructions for manuscript preparation. Manuscripts that do not follow these instructions will be returned without review. Figures must be uploaded separately and not imbedded in the text file, although authors are encouraged to include call-outs in the text to identify preferred locations for figures and tables.

All manuscripts must be written in English using US spelling and grammar conventions. These conventions often differ greatly from Spanish and Portuguese conventions, so we strongly encourage authors to consult appropriate references (e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition) to ensure proper use and placement of punctuation (especially hyphens, En dashes, Em dashes, commas, semicolons, colons, and periods) and capitalization.

In general, write out single digit numbers (e.g., one, seven, nine) and use numerals for higher numbers, with four exceptions: (1) Write out any number that begins a sentence. (2) Use numerals for calendar years (e.g., 1997). (3) Use numerals for measurements (e.g., 6 mm), mathematical symbols (e.g., < 9 words, 8%), or given as ranges (e.g., 1–20). (4) Use numerals when numbers refer to the same category (e.g., I read 4 papers on Monday and 14 on Tuesday). Use a decimal point (not comma) to separate the integer part of a number from from the fractional part. For numbers of four or more digits (except calendar years), place a comma every three digits from the right (not counting decimals; e.g., 1,045.25 m)

Be must be consistent when using anatomical and other technical terms for which usage is not entirely standardized (e.g. use “middorsal” or “mid-dorsal,” but not both). Although all accepted manuscripts are subjected to thorough English revision prior to publication, submissions that do not meet minimal language requirements to allow evaluation of their scientific content will be returned without peer review. As such, non-native speakers are encouraged to have their manuscripts checked by a native speaker (or equivalent) prior to submission, as this will facilitate review and prevent delays.

All manuscripts must follow the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature and relevant specimens should be properly curated and deposited in recognized natural history collections. Tissue samples should be referred to their voucher specimens. Voucher collection data should be provided in an appendix or occasionally in the text. GenBank or EMBL accession numbers for all DNA sequence data are required for publication.

The scientific name of all species must be given and should be used preferentially in the text, although common names can be given as well. Scientific names must be written according to standard zoological practice (e.g., genus- and species-group names italicized, authorship in parentheses if the species is currently referred to a different genus than the one in which it was described). Common names are not capitalized, although proper names that form part of the common name are (e.g., Cuvier’s dwarf caiman). Authorship and year of publication must be included with all taxon names mentioned in the text (e.g., Colostethus Cope, 1866) and the respective publication must be included in the References section. Unless warranted by special taxonomic considerations, authorship and year should be provided only once in the text, preferably the first time each taxon is mentioned. Alternatively, in articles that address many species and authorship and year would decrease readability, the complete taxonomic references may be provided in an associated table. Authorship of taxa that contain more than two authors must be cited as the first author + et al. (e.g., Adelphobates Grant et al., 2006).

The International System of Units (SI) and corresponding symbols should be used to report all measurements (for overview see The International System of Units and the NIST Guide for for the use of the International System of Units), except when this would lead to unnecessary complications. For example, there are standard symbols for minute (min), hour (h), day (d), and year (a, not yr), but not week or month; such non-standard units may be used, but should always be spelled out. Standard geographic coordinates must be written without spaces between numbers and symbols (e.g., 38°57ʹ56.4″N, 95°13ʹ35.9″W) and the corresponding datum should be reported. Standard statistics should be reported as follows: n (sample size), t (t-test statistic), X (sample mean; this will be replaced with the x-bar symbol in production), SD (standard deviation), SE (standard error), r, r2 (Pearson product-moment correlation), R2 (coefficient of determination from regression analysis), P (probability), df (degrees of freedom), and 𝛸2 (chi-square). Mathematical operators must be separated by a space (e.g., n = 20; 45 ± 1.2). Standard Latin terms and abbreviations, such as ca., cf., e.g., i.e., et al., sp. nov., gen. nov., vs., etc., sensu stricto (s.s.), and sensu lato (s.l.), should not be italicized. All other acronyms and abbreviations must be defined on first mention or in the Materials and Methods section. Dates must be reported as numeric day, full month name, full numeric year (e.g., 18 March 2011) and time of day must use the 24-hour system (e.g., 14:01 h instead of 2:01 p.m.).

Manuscripts must be submitted in Word document format (i.e., doc, docx). All pages must be numbered consecutively. All text (including title page, references, and tables) must be double-spaced and include consecutive line numbers. Text must be left-adjusted and headings must follow specific instructions (see below). Article should be arranged in the following order:


Title page


Body of text



Online supporting information


Figure captions


The body of text and references should not exceed 40 pages of A4 format paper, double-spaced typescript, with 2.5 cm margins. Authors of longer manuscripts should contact the Editors prior to submission (see also instructions for Special Issues, above).


Title page

            This should include the article title and author names and addresses (including email addresses). Article titles should use headline-style capitalization, be concise, and, where appropriate, include names of higher taxa, but they should not include names of new taxa. Names of institutions should be written in full (e.g., Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, not CONICET). Multi-author manuscripts must identify the corresponding author and his/her postal and email addresses. For example:


Strengthening Population Inference in Herpetofaunal Studies by Addressing Detection Probability


Murilo Guimarães1,*, Paul F. Doherty Jr.2, Roberto Munguía-Steyer3


1 Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Caixa Postal 6.109, CEP 13083970, Campinas, SP, Brazil.

2 Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University. Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.

3 Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Tlalnepantla, Estado de México, México.

* Corresponding author. Email:


Abstract page

            All papers must include an abstract in English of at most 350 words (700 for Special Issues). It should provide a concise summary of the study’s objectives, methods, main results, and conclusions. Bibliographic references and new taxon names should not appear in the abstract and abbreviations should be avoided.

Following the abstract, 3–8 keywords must be provided for indexing. Keywords must be arranged in alphabetical order, separated by a semicolon and must not include new taxon names or words already in the title; the first word of every set of keywords must be capitalized.

Authors may also provide a Spanish (Resumen) or Portuguese (Resumo) translation following the keywords. Keywords in Portuguese and Spanish are not permitted.


Body of text

            The main body of the text should normally include the following sections: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion. Primary headings should be in all capital letters, centered, and bold face; the following text should begin on the next line, indented. Secondary headings should use sentence case capitalization and be centered and bold face; the following text should begin on the next line, indented. Tertiary headings should use sentence case capitalization and be flush left and bold face; the following text should begin on the next line, indented. Quaternary headings should use sentence case capitalization, be indented, use bold face italics, and be followed by a period; the following text should be on the same line.

Literature citations in the text must be arranged in chronological order first and alphabetical order second, separated by semi-colon. Citations from the same author(s) and year must be identified by letters, in the text and references, as in the examples below.

Citations in the text should be given as: Silva (1998)…, Silva (1998:14–20)…, Silva (1998: figs. 1, 2)…, Silva (1998a, b)…, Silva and Oliveira (1998)…, (Silva, 1998)…, (Rangel, 1890; Silva and Oliveira, 1998a, b; Adams, 2000)…, (see Silva, 1998, and references therein)…, (H. R. Silva, pers. comm.)…, and Silva et al. (1998) or (Silva et al., 1998) for more than two authors. Adjacent parentheses should be avoided: “… absence of postmalars (present; Fig. 3),” not “… absence of postmalars (present) (Fig. 3).” Exceptions are permissible in special situations, such as when parentheses required by the ICZN: Tropidurus hispidus (Spix, 1825) (Tropiduridae). Field codes generated by citation software (e.g., EndNote) must be stripped prior to submission.




            Although scientific articles in Portuguese and Spanish title the acknowledgments section “agradecimentos” or “agradecimientos,” respectively, the purpose of this section is not to express thanks but to recognize the individuals and institutions who provided critical support for the research (i.e., “reconhecimentos” or “reconocimientos”), and the text should be written accordingly. Specifically, individuals and institutions (other than the authors’ home institutions) that provided funding, access to work space, equipment, specimens and tissues, and assistance in carrying out the study or preparing the manuscript must be listed, together with a statement detailing their contribution or involvement. Relevant permits and authorizations must also be listed in the acknowledgments.



            All literature cited in both the text and online supporting information must be included in the References section. Authors are discouraged from citing dissertations and theses because they usually constitute unfinished works that were either completed and published elsewhere (in which case the published version should be cited) or were not completed and published (in which case the work should not be considered part of the permanent scientific record). However, to allow for the rare, special situations in which dissertations and theses must be cited, the format is included below. Articles that are submitted or in press can be cited as such at the time of submission but must be published or at least publicly available (e.g., via DOI, see below) prior to publication.

The References section is the main source of formatting errors. To help remedy this, we have simplified and streamlined our format. As such, we strongly recommend that authors pay close attention to the following. Important changes include:


  • Author names are given as last name followed immediately (i.e., no comma) by initials, each separated by a period and no spaces; suffixes should follow initials, separated by a space (e.g., Brodie E.D. Jr.); authors are separated by a comma without “and” or “&” preceding the last author.


  • Single- and two-author references must be listed in alphabetical order first, chronological order second. References with three or more authors must always be listed in chronological order. If an article has more than seven authors, list the names of the first six authors followed by “…” and then the last author’s name in the reference entry.


  • Multiple references of same authorship (e.g., Silva, 1998a, b) should be listed in the same order as they are cited in the text (i.e., Silva, 1998a, must precede Silva, 1998b), with the corresponding identifying letter following year of publication.


  • To facilitate indexing and cross-referencing, articles available from permanent online repositories must include their respective handle. To ensure that handles are truly permanent, SAJH accepts Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) exclusively. Stable URLs are no longer accepted. Increasingly, ancient (and not so ancient) literature can be accessed online through the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and works have been assigned a DOI. Please note the formatting of DOIs in the examples below:


Article. Authors. Year. Article title. Journal Name volume:page–page. doi:doi.number


Abdala C.S., Quinteros A.S. 2014. Los últimos 30 años de la familia de lagartijas más diversa de Argentina. Actualización taxonómica y sistemática de Liolaemidae. Cuadernos de Herpetología. In press.


Campbell J.A., Brodie E.D. Jr., Blancas-Hernández J.C., Smith E.N. 2013. Another new salamander of the genus Pseudoeurycea from the state of Guerrero, Mexico. South American Journal of Herpetology 8:198–202. doi:10.2994/SAJH-D-13-00026.1


Frost D.R., Grant T., Faivovich J., Bain R.H., Haas A., Haddad C.F.B., … Wheeler, W.C. 2006. The amphibian tree of life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297:1–370. doi:10.1206/0003-0090(2006)297[0001:TATOL]2.0.CO;2


Martins M., Arnaud G., Ávila-Villegas H. 2012. Juvenile recruitment, early growth, and morphological variation in the endangered Santa Catalina Island rattlesnake, Crotalus catalinensis. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 7:376–382.


Book. Authors. Year. Book Title. Publisher, City.


Martins M., Sano P.T. 2009. Biodiversidade Tropical. Editora UNESP, São Paulo.


Noble G.K. 1931. The Biology of the Amphibia. McGraw-Hill, New York. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.82448.


Linnaeus C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differential, synonymis, locis, Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentiis Salvii, Holmiae. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.542


Book chapter. Authors. Year. Chapter title. Pp. chapter pages, in Editor Names (Eds.), Book Title. Publisher, City.


Martins M., Marques O.A.V., Sazima I. 2002. Ecological and phylogenetic correlates of feeding habits in Neotropical pitvipers (genus Bothrops). Pp. 307–328, in Schuett G.W., Höggren M., Douglas M.E., Greene H.W. (Eds.), Biology of the Vipers. Eagle Mountain Publishing, Eagle Mountain.


Dissertation or thesis. Author. Year. Title. Degree Requirement, Institution, Country.


Angulo A. 2004. The Evolution of the Acoustic Communication System in Members of the Genus Adenomera (Anura: Leptodactylidae): A Comparative Approach. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Toronto, Canada.


Website content. Authors. Year. Title. Version. Accessible at website. Accessed: access date [if version is not available].


Frost D.R. 2013. Amphibian species of the world: an online reference. Version 5.6 (9 January 2013). Accessible at


Uetz P. (Ed.). 2012. The reptile database. Accessible at Accessed: 07 February 2013.


We also encourage (but do not require) authors to use WebCite® ( to archive the website. In this case, provide the regular citation followed by the archival site URL provided by the service.


Uetz P. (Ed.). 2012. The reptile database. Accessible at Accessed: 07 February 2013. Archived by WebCite at


Software. Authors. Year. Software name, Version. Available from: website or company name and address.


Maddison W.P., Maddison D.R. 2009. Mesquite: a modular system for evolutionary analysis, Version 2.7.1. Available from:


Software packages. Authors. Year. Package title, Software name. Available from: website or company name.


Harmon L.J., Weir J., Brock C., Glor R., Challenger W., Hunt G. 2009. Geiger: analysis of evolutionary diversification, R package. Available from:


Online supporting information

            All online supporting information must be cited in the text as Fig. S1, Appendix S1, Table S1, Audio S1, Video S1 etc. and be listed in the Online Supporting Information section. This section must begin with the opening statement: “The following Supporting Information is available for this article online:” followed by the list of supplementary information, as cited in the text, and a brief caption for each file.



            Information that is not essential to the text (e.g., specimens examined, GenBank accession numbers) may be provided in an appendix following the References section.


Specimens examined should, preferably, be reported in the following format:


Species name (n = number of specimens): COUNTRY: State: County: Municipality: Specific locality, COLLECTION ACRONYM number(s); …


Amphisbaena anaemariae (n = 8): BRAZIL: São Paulo: Teodoro Sampaio: Parque Estadual do Morro do Diabo, MZUSP 96810; Goiás: Campinaçu: MZUSP 103743; Luiziania: MTR 11453, 115454; São Salvador do Tocantins: UHE São Salvador, MZUSP 99394; UHE Cana Brava, MZUSP 97217; UHE Serra da Mesa, MZUSP 97047, 97171.



            Tables should be on separate pages in either the main document file or separate files and be accompanied by a legend at the top. Tables must be numbered in the same sequence in which they appear in the text. Authors are encouraged to indicate where the tables should be placed in the text. Tables should be comprehensible without reference to the text and not report the same data presented in figures or listed in the text. Tables should be formatted exclusively with horizontal lines. In the text, tables should be referred to as Table 1, Tables 2 and 3, Tables 2–6. Tables provided as supporting information must not be included here (see below).


Figure captions

            A brief caption must be provided for each figure cited in the text, including enough information for the figure to be understood without reference to the text. Figures provided as supplementary information must not be included here.


Figure preparation

Figures must visually compress information in order to complement, not repeat, the information provided in the text. Important but non-essential figures should be submitted as Supporting Information (see below). SAJH publishes a limited number of color figures at no cost to authors. When color reproduction is not essential, authors should submit gray scale graphics. Previously published figures will not be accepted. All figures must be cited in text as “(Fig.)” and “Figure.” Use lower case “fig.” and “figure” when referring to figures in other papers. Authors are encouraged to indicate where figures should be placed in the text. Each part of a composite figure should be identified by capital letters and referred in the text as Fig. 1A, Fig. 1B, Fig. 2C–D, etc. Where possible, letters should be placed in the upper left corner of each illustration of a composite figure. Font style and final size (i.e., after reduction to page or column width; see below) should be standardized among figures. A scale bar should be marked on each figure so that absolute sizes are clearly apparent. If a scale bar is not provided, then the caption should provide some size reference (e.g., snout­–vent length in photographs of whole specimens). On no account should magnification factors (e.g., x7000) be stated in the captions.

High quality graphics files should be submitted through PeerTrack in common electronic formats (e.g., JPEG, TIFF, PNG). Figures should be submitted at final size, maximum length = 23.0 cm; page width 17.5 cm, column width 8.7 cm) at resolution of at least 300 dpi. Vector art (e.g., AI, EPS, SVG) can also be submitted. We recommend that authors use Allen Press’s Allen veriFig™ service to check figure quality and format prior to submission, as this can prevent production delays. To log in, authors must provide a valid email and enter the password “figcheck.”

We encourage authors to submit through PeerTrack a high quality, original photograph that has not been published or submitted elsewhere as a candidate cover image. We ask that this image be mentioned in the cover letter and that a legend be provided following other figure captions.


Online supporting information preparation

SAJH permits online supporting information to accompany articles, including appendices, figures, and supplementary text—preferably as PDF files—as well as audio and video files. Supplementary files are associated with the corresponding article on the BioOne website and special links are included in the online Table of Contents to highlight that the article has supplemental information available. All online supporting information must be cited in the text as Fig. S1, Appendix S1, Table S1, Audio S1, Video S1 etc. and also be listed in the Online Supporting Information section (see above). Literature cited in online supporting information must be included in the References section of the main article; this ensures proper tracking for indexing. Although online supporting information will be sent for peer review, supplementary files usually will not be sent for English revision.

All Supporting Information must be submitted online with the main manuscript files. Please name your online supporting files as Supporting Files and upload them with the main document. This allows the submission web site to combine all the relevant files together but keep them separate when it comes to publication stage.