Zoological Society of Southern Africa (ZSSA)

Instructions for authors

African Zoology publishes original scientific contributions that focus principally on African fauna in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. Research from other regions that advances practical and theoretical aspects of Zoology will be considered. Rigorous question-driven research in all aspects of Zoology will take precedence over descriptive research. The journal publishes full length papers (5 000 to 7 500 words), critical reviews (up to 10 000 words), short communications (2 500 words), letters to the editors and book reviews. Contributions based on purely observational, descriptive or anecdotal data will not be considered.

Editorial policy

Submission of a manuscript implies that the material has not previously been published, nor is it being submitted elsewhere for publication. Contributions are accepted with the understanding that the authors have the authority for publication. Submission will be taken to imply transfer of copyright of the material to the journal owners, the Zoological Society of Southern Africa. Contributions must conform to the principles outlined in Ethical Considerations in Research Publication available for download at https://www.nisc.co.za/products/59/journals/african-zoology. Papers submitted to African Zoology will be reviewed by a minimum of two appropriately qualified and experienced referees to ensure that all articles accepted for publication are methodologically and conceptually sound and make an original contribution to the field. The journal adheres strictly to a double blind review process. The final decision to accept a manuscript rests with the Editors-in Chief. Queries regarding manuscripts can be addressed to the Editorial Office here


Manuscript submissions should be made online at the African Zoology ScholarOne Manuscripts site. New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged onto the site, submissions should be made via the Author Centre. Manuscripts must adhere to the format criteria described below, and papers failing to do so will be returned to authors to be corrected before being reviewed.

Manuscript presentation

Submitted manuscripts should contain the following sections, each in separate files:

Title page

The title (max. 20 words) should be a concise description of the article content. Author names must appear only on the title page. This page should also include each author’s names (full first name and surname), each author’s full institutional affiliation, the e-mail address of the designated corresponding author.


The abstract is a concise statement of the scope of the work, the principal findings and the conclusions and should not exceed 250 words. It should not contain references. Below the abstract, up to eight additional keywords or phrases (which are not already given in the title) should be listed in alphabetical order. Short communications also require brief abstracts (max. 200 words).

Main text

Papers should be structured around Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion sections, where appropriate for the subject matter.

Format – Manuscripts should be prepared in MSWord. The headings and text should be presented in 12-point Arial or Calibri font. The text should use 1.5 line spacing, with no extra line spacing between paragraphs, and should not include text columns, creative formatting or additional fonts. Headings should be sentence case format and never numbered. There should be no more than three heading levels. Primary headings should be presented in bold, secondary headings in bold and italics, and tertiary headings in italics. Avoid footnotes. Tables and figures (graphs, photographs or scanned images) should not be part of the text but prepared as separate file but please include a list of figure captions at the end of the manuscript.

Editorial style – Manuscripts should be written in clear English (UK spelling). Consult the Oxford English Dictionary for spelling, capitalisation, hyphenation and abbreviation conventions. Consult a copy of the journal for general style conventions. The guideline document Presenting Mathematical and Statistical Data is available for download at https://www.nisc.co.za/products/59/journals/african-zoology and clarifies conventions for this aspect of data presentation. Statistics in text should include sufficient information and permit the reader to corroborate the analysis, therefore report the full test statistic. Authors are urged to accurately disclose measures of variability, uncertainty, measurement error, etc. Unusual statistical procedures need to be explained in sufficient detail, including references if appropriate, for the reader to reconstruct the analysis.

Naming conventions – Scientific names should be given in full in the text when first mentioned. Authors should consult taxonomic authorities such as the Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature and the Nomenclator Zoologicus. Taxonomic authorities should follow the name of the taxon without intervening punctuation and should not be abbreviated. If the year is added, a comma must separate the author’s name and year.

Voucher specimens – Authors of taxonomic works are encouraged to deposit voucher specimens in an established permanent collection. This collection should be cited in the publication. All nucleic acid sequences should be placed in Genbank and accession numbers included in the manuscript.

Referencing – Multiple citations in the text must be separated by semicolons and cited chronologically in the form (Whitfield 1998, 2005; Gibson and Davis 2012). If there is more than one citation with the same publication year, these should be listed alphabetically. If previously published work is quoted directly, the citation must include the author, year of publication, and page number as in (Pringle 2013, p. 63). If more than two authors are cited in a reference, use only the name of the first author followed by ‘et al’. For presenting the full list of references at the end of the manuscript, please consult our guide Reference Exemplars for Authors available for download at https://www.nisc.co.za/products/59/journals/african-zoology. The reference list should be in alphabetical order by first author, and include all the authors of a given reference (do not use ‘et al.’ in the list); likewise, use full journal titles. URLs may be cited only for references that are not available in print (such as a webpage) or ones that link to hard-to-find sources (e.g. municipal document), and these URLs must be up-to-date at the time of submission. Include DOIs only for articles without complete bibliographic details, such as articles published online early and not paginated and assigned to a volume or issue.

Example reference list:

Allanson BR, Baird D, Heydorn AE. 1999. Perspectives. In: Allanson BR, Baird D (eds), Estuaries of South Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp 321–327.

IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). 2012. 2012 IUCN Red List of threatened species. Available at http://www.iucnredlist.org [accessed 18 January 2013].

Vergara P, Aguirre JI, Fernández-Cruz M. 2007. Arrival date, age and breeding success in White Stork Ciconia ciconia. Journal of Avian Biology 38: 573–579.

Tables and Figures – Tables and figures should contain only information directly relevant to the content of the paper. Each table and figure should be numbered (arabic numerals), must include a full, stand-alone caption, and each must be sequentially mentioned in the text. Highly stylised formatting should be avoided. Tables may use thin, horizontal lines but should not include cells with shading. Authors must ensure that their figures conform to the style of the journal. Pay particular attention to line thickness, font and figure proportions, taking into account the Journal’s printed page size (210 x 275 mm). Costs of redrawing figures may be charged. Please refer to Figure Guidelines for Authors: format, style and technical considerations available for download at https://www.nisc.co.za/products/59/journals/african-zoology. For digital photographs or scanned images the resolution should be at least 300 dpi for colour or greyscale artwork and a minimum of 600 dpi for black line drawings. These can be saved (in order of preference) in PSD, JPEG, PDF or EPS format. Graphs, charts or maps can be saved in AI, PDF or EPS format. MS Office files (Word, Powerpoint, Excel) are also acceptable but DO NOT EMBED Excel graphs or Powerpoint slides in a MS Word document, rather send the original Excel or Powerpoint files. More detailed technical information is given in Figure Guidelines for Authors.

Page Charges

African Zoology levies the following page charges: South African and African contributors – ZAR150 per page (ex VAT); international contributors – USD25 per page. Non-essential colour pages will be charged at ZAR900 (ex VAT) per page for African contributors and USD150 per page for contributors from elsewhere. Authors who do not receive subsidies from their institutions or do not have access to publication funding will be eligible to apply to the publisher for a full waiver, excluding colour charges.

Open access

African Zoology is a hybrid journal which allows authors the option of publishing their article Open Access for a set fee. Further details are given on the OpenAccess at NISC page.

Electronic reprints

Authors will be notified when their article is available for download from the journal website.

View more at https://www.nisc.co.za/products/59/journals/african-zoology