The British Herpetological Society

Instructions to Authors - The Herpetological Bulletin

Instructions to Authors

The Herpetological Bulletin is a full colour, quarterly publication in English, without page charges to authors. It includes full-length papers, natural history notes, book reviews, and other items of general herpetological interest.  Emphasis is placed on natural history and conservation as well as captive care that includes breeding, husbandry, veterinary, and behavioural aspects.  Articles reporting the results of experimental research, descriptions of new taxa, or taxonomic revisions should be submitted to The Bulletin’s sister publication The Herpetological Journal.

All British Herpetological Society (BHS) members have access to issues of The Bulletin once they have been uploaded to the Society’s website.  For the general public, certain articles are open access from the time of release these include articles containing a hyperlink to an illustrative video and those written by BHS members (prospective authors may take out BHS membership so that articles will be open access).  Other articles remain ‘subscription-only’ for one year.  A printed version of The Bulletin is also distributed to those BHS members who subscribe to hardcopy.  Occasionally, photographs and text from selected articles may be used for publicity purposes on the social media of the British Herpetological Society and will include appropriate acknowledgments.


Submission Guidelines

All submissions should be sent by e-mail to: -

The manuscript file should preferably be in Microsoft WORD format.  Authors will be informed promptly of receipt of their manuscript and, if accepted, given a time-scale within which it will be published. Acknowledgement of the receipt of work does not indicate acceptance for publication.  All contributions are subject to peer review by at least 2 reviewers and will be judged on their reports.  These will usually include comments on scientific rigour, originality and the degree of general interest of the subject matter.  The decision of the Editor will be final.  The Editor reserves the right to shorten or amend a manuscript, although substantial alterations will not be made without consultation with the primary author.

Ethical issues - contributions are assessed for ethical issues, for which the advice of one or more external referees may be sought; in particular, work that has involved the killing or other use of animals, collection of endangered species or disturbance to their habitat(s), will require full justification.  Please consult our Ethics Policy here: BHS Ethics Policy.

Archiving - Where appropriate, authors will be requested to deposit their data sets, e.g. audio files, genetic analyses etc., in an archive with public access.

Style and format - authors should consult a recent edition of The Bulletin. Free issues are available for download from the BHS website.  The Bulletin publishes article in the following formats -

            Full Papers: These should be no longer than 6000 words but longer papers are possible at the Editor’s discretion.  The layout for a Full Paper is given below.

            Short Notes: These should be based on a single data set and one figure or one table but can have a short abstract with a maximum 100 words. Layout is similar to a full paper (see below).

            Short Communications: These are similar to ‘Short Notes’ but are not substantial enough to warrant an ‘abstract’, and the only marked sections are ‘Acknowledgements’ and ‘References’.

            Natural History Notes: These present an unusual single observation of a species or event that would not normally constitute a ‘Short Communication’.  More details are given below.



By submitting a manuscript, authors agree that the copyright for their article (including images) is shared with the publisher if and when the article is accepted for publication. This arrangement covers the rights of the BHS to reproduce and distribute the article, including reprints and photographic reproductions. However, authors also retain the right to use and distribute their article and its images as they see fit.

General text layout. All pages should be single column. Section headings are in uppercase, bold, centred – see below. First paragraph of each section is not indented. Following paragraphs start indented.

Title (example).

A hypothesis to explain the distribution of the great crested newt Triturus cristatus in the Highlands of Scotland

Authors (example)


1Address of First Author 2Address of Second Author

*Corresponding author e-mail: e-mail address


This should not exceed 10% of the papers length and begin as follows




Any sub-section headings are bold.


Any sub-section headings are bold.


Any sub-section headings are bold.



For a guide to formatting references authors should consult a recent issue of the Bulletin. Example formats are given below. Note that journals titles are quoted in full.

Phelps, T. (2002). A study of the Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, with particular reference to long-term refugia. The Herpetological Bulletin 80: 7-19.

Pitman, C.R.S. (1938). A Guide to the Snakes of Uganda. Kampala: Uganda Society. xxi + 362 pp.

Seigel, R.A. & Ford, N.B. (1987). Reproductive ecology. In Snakes: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 210-252 pp. Siegel, R.A. Collins, J.T. & Novak, S.S. (Eds.). New York: Macmillan Publ. Co.

Attention is drawn to other format details:

1. References in the text should be given as in the following examples: Golay (1985); (Golay, 1989); Golay & Schneyer (1991); Golay et al., (1993)

2. Units of measurement should be given in abbreviated form and separated from values with a space (e.g. 10 m, 10 km, 10:00 h, 10 °C, 16º 43'95" N, 88º 59'17" W).

3. Regions of the world should be typed in lower case with hyphenation (i.e. south-east Asia).

4. Dates in the text should be given as in the following example; 21st February 2001.

5. Spelling should be that of the Oxford English Dictionary.

6. Sentences within the text should be separated by one character-stop only.


Tables should preferably be constructed using the table function in Microsoft WORD.  For table layout see an example in The Bulletin.


Legends for figures should be shown as Figure 1, Figure 2 etc.  When referencing in the text show as Fig.1, Fig. 2 etc. except at the beginning of a sentence when it is Figure 1 etc..

Images (photographs, graphs, illustrations) may be embedded within the text file of a submitted article but must also be submitted separately as PDF (preferred), TIFF or JPEG files.  Images should be entirely relevant to the text and numbered sequentially with Arabic numbers (i.e. Figure 1. etc.). Images should be sized accordingly, for either one column (8.5 cm) or across two columns (18 cm) width and, if possible, at a maximum 300 dpi resolution.  If this presents any difficulty then the editorial team will assist by making any necessary adjustments.  Higher resolution files may be requested in the case of images selected for the front cover or for other promotional purposes.

Authors are encouraged to submit relevant video footage that will be linked to their published articles.  To do this, authors should submit a title for the video and a short introductory text along with their manuscript.  The video file itself, which is potentially very large, should be sent to the managing editor Julie Tee () using Wetransfer ( which is available free of charge.  When an article is accepted for publication, and the video is judged appropriate, then the Editorial Team will upload the video to the BHS video channel (which can be seen here).  The Team will insert a hyperlink into the article to connect it to the video and vice versa.  Articles containing a live link to video footage will have the advantage of being accessible to both BHS members and the general public immediately they are uploaded on to the BHS website (i.e. will not be embargoed for a year).

Natural History Notes

These feature shorter-style articles documenting a single unusual observation made of amphibians and reptiles mostly in the field.  Articles should be concise and may consist of as little as two or three paragraphs, although ideally will be between 600 and 1000 words.  Preferred contributions should represent an observation made of a free-living animal with little human intrusion, and describe a specific aspect of natural history.  Information based on a captive observation should be declared as such in the text and the precise geographical origin of the specimen stated.  With few exceptions, an individual 'Note' should concern only one species.

The use of photographs is encouraged but should replace words rather than embellish them.  Contributions are accepted on the premise that they represent an original and previously unreported observation.  The date, time and locality (with full map co-ordinates if possible) must be included, as should precise details on the nature of the observation with some discussion of its significance, and references to pertinent literature.  If the information relates to a preserved specimen, its catalogue number and place of deposition should also be given.