Raffles Bulletin of Zoology

Instructions to Authors



  • Submission of manuscripts for consideration for publication
  • Provisional acceptance of manuscript


  • Manuscript preparation
  • Title, authors and abstract
  • Citations in the text
  • Taxonomic papers
  • Material and methods
  • Material examined
  • Literature cited
  • Tables
  • Figures (photographs, line drawings, and/or maps)
  • Multimedia information
  • Long manuscripts


  • Submission of manuscript for acceptance and publication
  • Proofs
  • Notification of publication


  • Page charges


A PDF copy of the Instructions to Authors can be obtained here



The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology (RBZ) is an online peer-reviewed journal, which publishes high quality papers in Taxonomy, Ecology and Conservation Biology of animals from Southeast Asia. The Journal will not publish papers on material and science from outside the stated geographic range, except under special circumstances and/or on advice of the Editorial Board. Both descriptive and experimental papers will be considered. Similarly, single species descriptions (except for insect taxa) and ecosystem studies will be considered for publication. Single species descriptions for insect taxa or new records of organisms are not accepted except under strong recommendations from the Editors. Manuscripts that are checklists or based on new records will no longer be accepted unless they add substantial new knowledge about the systematics or biology of the species concerned. Papers outside the general stated policy may be accepted on advice of the Editors/Editorial Board.

The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology will consist of a single volume each year, continuing the sequence of its two predecessors, the Bulletin of the Raffles Museum (1928–1960) and the Bulletin of the National Museum of Singapore(1961–1970). A separately numbered supplement series will be published when manuscripts and funding permit. As of January 2014, the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology will become an electronic-only publication. In order to satisfy theInternational Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN, Fourth Edition, International Trust of Zoological Nomenclature, London; amendment to Article 8, Zootaxa, 3450: 1–7, ZooKeys, 219: 1–10), the Journal will register the names in ZooBank before publication and the LSIDs will be indicated on the first page of each paper. The Journal will be archived in LOCKSS so that all new names (and nomenclatural acts) published in the electronic-only Journal will be considered published and available. All articles published by the RBZ will continue to be freely downloadable for non-commercial purposes.

Authors are to adhere to the guidelines in these Instructions to Authors. Papers submitted to this Journal must not have been submitted or under review elsewhere unless they have been withdrawn or rejected. It is recommended, where possible, that representative material examined in manuscripts submitted to the Journal be deposited in the Zoological Reference Collection (ZRC) of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.

All new manuscripts should be submitted via email to the Managing Editor Dr Jose C. E. Mendoza at RBZ@nus.edu.sg, along with this signed and completed Manuscript Submission Form.

All manuscripts will be sent to an Associate Editor who will facilitate the peer-review process. The Associate Editor decides on provisional acceptance or rejection based on comments submitted by the referees. The author will receive notification of the decision with the returned manuscript, the referees’ comments, and a copy of the Instructions to Authors on the format of the revised manuscript.


Authors should note that the format and style of the manuscript have undergone a substantial revision for 2014, in line with the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology going completely electronic.

Manuscripts submitted must be in British English. Authors whose native language is not English should have their work reviewed by a person well-versed in the English language before submitting the manuscript. It is not the Editors’ or Referees’ responsibility to provide language assistance, and poorly-written manuscripts may be grounds for rejection.

The preferred format for manuscripts is Microsoft® Word (.doc and not .docx). For submission in other formats produced with other word processing applications, authors should email the Managing Editor regarding document compatibility before sending the manuscript.

The manuscript should be arranged into the following sections:

• Introduction
• Material and Methods
• Taxonomy or Systematics
• Results
• Discussion
• Acknowledgements
• Literature Cited

The manuscript format should adhere to these specifications:

• A4 page size (210 mm × 297 mm) in portrait orientation, with margins of 20 mm on all four sides
• Text to be in Times New Roman (10 point), and double line-spaced throughout
• Insertion of line numbers to facilitate the refereeing process
• All paragraphs should be left aligned and not justified
• Do not indent paragraphs
• Page numbers should be in the centre of the footer, in Times News Roman (10 point)
• All headings should be centred, in upper case and bold
• Sub-headings should begin paragraphs, be in bold, and end with a period ‘.’

Other specifications:

• All species and genus names are to be italicised. All other words are not to be italicised (e.g., sensu stricto, fide, et al., etc.)
• Metric measurements and the SI convention should be used throughout the manuscript (refer to ‘A Concise Summary of the International System of Units, the SI’ for more details)
• All numbers less than 10 should be spelt in full, except in the Material and Methods, and Material Examined sections of taxonomic papers
• En dashes ‘–‘, and not hyphens ‘-‘, should always be used when representing a closed range of values (e.g., pp. 1–21, 0800–1000 hours)
• Dates should have the months spelt out in full followed by a four-digit year (e.g., 25 December 2013)
• Time should be represented in the 24-hour format (e.g., 2300 hours, and not 11PM, 11:00 pm or 23:00)
• When representing geographic coordinates, the format adopted has to be strictly consistent throughout the length of the manuscript
• Names of vessels should be capitalised
• The appropriate regional authority for names of geographical locations should be followed with equivalent names in square brackets (e.g., Ampang [=District], Pulau [=Island], Teluk [=Bay])

The bulletin maintains its neutrality with regard to names of disputed geographical features. Our practice is to allow authors to use national names in conjunction with internationally accepted names for such disputed geographical features.

The title should be clear and concise. It should be typed in sentence case and in bold. The higher classification of any taxa in the title should be placed in parentheses, separated by colons, in descending order: e.g., “The pontoniine shrimps (Crustacea: Decapoda: Palaemonidae) from the Anambas and Natuna Islands”. Two lines should precede the authors’ names and followed by the authors’ professional affiliation(s). Leave three blank lines before inserting the abstract. All articles should be accompanied by an abstract of not more than 500 words, clearly and concisely stating the results and conclusions of the paper. The names of all newly described taxa should be mentioned. No citations should be made. Key words (four–six words) should be listed following the abstract. A short running title of the paper (no longer than 35 characters) must be provided to be used in the page header.

References in the text are to be cited by the author’s surname, a comma, and year of publication. For a single author: (Chan, 1985); for two authors, an ampersand is used: (Polhemus & Polhemus, 1988); and for three or more authors: (Harrison et al., 1950). Multiple references should be arranged in first chronological, then alphabetical order. When citing different references by the same author(s), list them in chronological order with the publication year separated by a comma, e.g., “In series of papers, Bott (1966, 1968, 1970) revised…”

Only a taxonomic authority should appear in parentheses immediately following a binomial name (if the taxon is no longer referable to the genus it was first described in) and followed by a comma: e.g.,“Lutra sumatrana (Gray, 1865), is a large species of otter…” If any other reference is cited, there should be a clear indication that it is not a taxonomic authority, either by modification, e.g., “In Asia, there is intraspecific variation of L. lutra (see Harris, 1968)”; or by a change in sentence structure, e.g., “There is intraspecific variation of L. lutra in Asia (Harris, 1968).” The author of taxon that is currently assigned to the genus it was first described in should be cited immediately after the taxon name and followed by a comma: e.g., “Nautilus pompilius Linnaeus, 1758, has recently been found…”

All taxonomic papers will be registered in ZooBank by the publisher, only after proof corrections have been returned, but before web publication. The LSID will be included on the first page of the paper together with the date of publication.

All scientific names proposed must be in accordance with the Fourth Edition of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (1999). Descriptions of new taxa by one author in a paper under another’s name are discouraged (e.g., Lim, in Tan & Ong, 1986). New taxa with more than three authors are not accepted unless strongly recommended by the Associate Editor handling the paper. New taxa must carry the appropriate indications, e.g., Palapedia, new genus; Palapedia valentini, new species. Do not use abbreviations (e.g., sp. nov., gen. nov., n. sp. or n. gen.). In previously described species, a comma must be inserted after the author’s name, e.g., Garthasia americana (Garth, 1939). Relevant figure numbers should be listed under the heading, in normal text, within brackets. Supra-generic taxa that appear as headings should be capitalised. Genus and species names that appear as headings should be in bold, and accompanied by the author and the year. Synonyms must be cited in the short form (taxon, author, year, page), but the full reference must be provided at the end of the paper in the Literature Cited section. When listing synonyms, start each one on a new line and end each line with a period. A telegraphic style is required for descriptions, diagnoses and keys. The origins of all new names must be briefly explained in a paragraph of its own under a subheading ‘Etymology’. In the case of new genera, the gender must be stated.

The use of keys is encouraged. However, keys are difficult to typeset and authors must adhere strictly to the following guidelines. Keys should not be indented. Only the first line of each couplet is numbered with Arabic numerals followed by a period “.”. This is followed by a left tab stop of 8 mm from the left margin. Keys must have a hanging indent of 5 mm. After the text of the first couplet has been typed, leave a space. Place a right tab stop on the right margin at the end of the first couplet (at 170 mm) and type in the numeral for the referring couplet. Authors should include with this right tab stop a dotted line leader. The second couplet must start with an en dash and not a hyphen. For example:

1. One rostral spine present. Ventral orbital margin invaginated …………………………………………………………………………………2

–  Three rostral spines present. Ventral orbital margin not invaginated …………………………………………………………………………3

2. Six or five pairs of dorsal setae. Abdomen surface smooth ……………………………………………………….. Pontochelum laevum

–  Four pairs of dorsal setae. Abdomen surface rugose………………………………………………………………………. P. singaporensis

3. Outer margin of dorsal orbit spinate. Branchial carina strongly tuberculated. Carapace dorsal surface pubescent ……………..4

–  Outer margin of dorsal orbit U-shaped. Branchial carina smooth. Carapace dorsal surface glabrous……………………………….5

Methodology should be clearly and concisely stated. Lists of abbreviations used should appear here.

The depositories where type specimens are deposited must be clearly stated, including catalogue numbers whenever possible. These depositories should be responsible public institutions and not private collections. Abbreviations of depository names should be official ones and should be listed in the Material and Methods section. The holotype and paratype data must be clearly designated in separate paragraphs. The sex of specimens must be spelt in full; do not use male and female symbols. If the sex is not known, the abbreviation of the word example, “ex.” will be used. Repetitious localities should be given locality or station numbers particularly with expedition material. For each listing, three or more collectors should be indicated with “et al.” instead. The material should be listed as follows: number of specimens and sex (remarks about specimen’s condition or measurements) (depository catalogue number), locality, collector’s name preceded by “coll.”, date of collection (months spelt out in full). Specimen lots are to be separated by semi-colons. If a different format is necessary, authors are required to seek the approval of the editor.

All references cited, including authorships of taxa, must be listed at the end of the manuscript under the section Literature Cited. All references must be complete. The full citations are to be listed in alphabetical then chronological order, with a hanging indent of 5 mm. Treat particles such as “de”, “la”, “van”, “van de”, and “von” as part of the surname. Alphabetize according to the particle regardless of nationality unless contradictory author preference is stated in the publication. The word “page” is abbreviated to “p.” and “pages” to “pp.”. The word “plate” is abbreviated to “pl.” and “plates” to “pls.”.

The references should follow the format of the examples listed below precisely, including the punctuation, style and spacing:

      1. Articles

Komai T (2000) Redescription of Pagurus pectinatus (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura: Paguridae). In: Komai T (ed.) Results of Recent Research on Northeast Asian Biota.Natural History Research, Special Issue 7: 323–337.
Morrone JJ (2000) Mexican weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea): a preliminary key to families and subfamilies. Acta Zoologica Mexicana, Nueva Serie, 80: 131–141.
Murphy DH (1990) The natural history of insect herbivory on mangrove trees in and near Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 38: 119–204.
Ng PKL, Guinot D & Davie PJF (2008) Systema brachyurorum: part 1. An annotated checklist of extant Brachyuran crabs of the world. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 17: 1–286.
Sasaji H (1983) Contribution to the taxonomy of the superfamily Cucujoidea (Coleoptera) of Japan and her adjacent districts, 1. Memoir of the Faculty of Education Fukui University, Series II (Natural Science), 33: 17–52.
Strahl C (1862) On a species of Rüppellia, Milne-Edwards, and the limits of the Brachyura. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 3, 9(52): 299–303.
Vázquez XA (1988) A new species of Oedemeridae from the Iberian Peninsula (Coleoptera). Nouvelle Revue d’Entomologie, Nouvelle série, 5(3): 259–261.
Watts CHS (1978) A revision of the Australian Dytiscidae (Coleoptera). Australian Journal of Zoology, Supplementary Series, 26(57): 1–166.

      1. Books

Bleeker P (1856) Recherches sur les Crustacés de l’Inde Archipélagique. Lange & Co., Batavia, 40 pp., pls. 1, 2.
Dai AY, Yang SL, Song YZ & Chen GX (1986) [Crabs of the China Seas]. China Ocean Press, Beijing, 17 + 642 pp., pls. 1–74. [In Chinese]
Gmelin JF (1791) Caroli a Linné Systema naturae per regna tria naturae. Edition decima tertia. Tom. I. Pars VI. Georg. Emanuel. Beer, Lipsiae [= Leipzig], 3021–3910 pp.
Linnaeus C (1758) Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiae [= Stockholm], 823 pp.
Richards PW (1996) The Tropical Rain Forest. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 256–286.
Whitmore TC (ed.) (1987) Biogeographical Evolution of the Malay Archipelago. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 147 pp.

      1. Book chapters

de Man JG (1892) Decapoden des indischen Archipels. In: Weber M (ed.) Zoologische Ergebnisse eniner Reise in Niederlandisch Ost-Indien. Volume 2. Pp. 265–527, pls. 15–29.
Leach WE (1814) Crustaceology. In: Brewster D (ed.) The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia. Volume 7. A. Balfour, Edinburgh, pp. 383–437, pl. 221.
Suleiman M, Chua MS & Kanak FA (2012) Mosses from the southern part of Imbak Canyon Conservation Area. In: Latif A & Sinun W (eds.) Imbak Canyon Conservation Area, Sabah: Geology, Biodiversity and Socio-economic Environment. Academy of Sciences Malaysia and Yayasan Sabah, pp. 269–281.

      1. Abstracts in conference proceedings

Naiyanetr P (1978) Six new species of freshwater crabs of Thailand. In: Abstracts of the National Conference on Agricultural and Biological Sciences. Kasetsart University, Bangkok, p. 84.
Singapore Meteorological Service, 1986. A study of the urban climate of Singapore. In: Chia LS, Lee HC, Rahman A, Tong PL & Woo WK (eds.) Proceedings: The Biophysical Environment of Singapore and its Neighbouring Countries. Geography Teachers’ Association, Singapore, pp. 50–76.

      1. Theses and reports

Tan SH (2004) A Systematic Revision of the Parthenopidae (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura). Unpublished PhD Thesis. National University of Singapore, Singapore, 729 pp.
Coudrat CNZ (2012) Wildlife Surveys in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area 2011–2012. Final Report Submitted to the Watershed Management and Protection Authority, Ban Oudomsouk, Nakai District, 194 pp.

      1. Websites

Lowther PE (2011) Host List of Avian Brood Parasites 2 – Cuculiformes. Version 12 September 2011.http://fm1.fieldmuseum.org/aa/Files/lowther/OWcList.pdf (Accessed 28 September 2011).
R Development Core Team (2009) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. http://www.R-project.org (Accessed 25 December 2013).
Rundell RJ (2012) Truncatella guerinii. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2.www.iucnredlist.org (Accessed 16 December 2013).
Singapore Department of Statistics (2011) Statistics: Key Annual Indicators. Department of Statistics Singapore, Government of Singapore, Singapore. http://www.singstat.gov.sg/stats/keyind.html (Accessed 28 October 2011).

It is the author’s responsibility to verify that all citations in the text are listed in the Literature Cited and vice versa.

Tables must be presented on separate pages with single spacing, in 9-point Times New Roman font, and formatted with no vertical lines and minimal horizontal lines. They should be organised to fit the page format. All tables must have their own headings, be self-explanatory, and not require reference to the text. Lengthy headings are to be avoided, but supplementary notes are allowed. Tables should be numbered with Arabic numbers, e.g., Table 1, Tables 2–4. We highly discourage the submission of tables as image files; they should be easily editable.

The complete manuscript must be submitted via email inclusive of all figures in digital format. All line drawings, photographs (print or slide transparency), maps or graphs are referred to as “figure(s)”, abbreviated as “Fig.” or “Figs.”. All figures must fit within the A4 page size format (including legends) either directly, or after reduction. Figures must be numbered in a single series throughout with Arabic numerals, in a sequence that follows some order. Each part of a composite figure should be labelled alphabetically and in some order (e.g., in the sequence of its arrangement), in Times New Roman font. Captions for all figures must be provided at the end of each manuscript text, be self-explanatory, and not require reference to the text. In providing an indication of size, scale bars are preferred, and must be inserted close to the relevant figure. Measurements referring to identifiable parts of the figure (e.g., SL) may be included in the caption. Magnification numbers are not allowed, except in EM photos, but the exact value must be inserted by the author in the final proofs.

For initial submission, photographic images that are either black and white or in colour are acceptable. To reduce file size for reviewing purposes, they may be submitted in JPEG format (.jpg). These may be submitted individually, embedded in Microsoft© Word documents, or all combined into one PDF (Portable Document Format) file. Do not send digital images in any other formats. While resolution as low as 96 dpi for these images are tolerated, the image size should be at least 1024× 768 pixels (about 270 × 200 mm).

For line drawings, the minimum resolution should be 300 dpi and image size to be at least 1024 × 768 pixels (about 270 × 200 mm). Authors should arrange their line drawings in such a way as to fit into an A4-size page, either in full page-width or in a single column of our two-column format.

For final submission, the colour profiles of the original digital black and white (b/w), and colour images should be in greyscale and RGB, respectively. Photographic images should be at least 300 dpi and the image size should be at least 1800 × 1200 pixels (about 150 × 100 mm) and in TIFF format (.tif). Black and white photographic images should have high contrast and show fine detail. All scanned colour transparencies (35 mm slides) must be scanned at a minimum resolution of 2000 dpi if no cropping of the image is desired in the final publication.

Original line drawings should be at least 600 dpi and in either TIFF or BITMAP (.bmp) format. Author must remember that figures should be arranged for reduction and not enlargement when published.

Graphs are treated in the same manner as line drawings. Symbols used on maps should preferably be easily available for reproduction in the legend by the typesetter. A symbol should not be used in different sizes to represent different items.

RBZ editors reserve the right to request for unmodified or original images, and failure to provide these images could result in the rejection of a manuscript.

It is the author’s responsibility to adhere to copyright laws when reproducing images, including obtaining written permission from the rightful copyright owners.

Alternative media for information such as video and audio clips can now be accepted for publication if they provide useful information that figures and text alone cannot present adequately. Videos should be submitted in MPEG-4 Part 14 format (.mp4) with a resolution of at least 640 × 480 pixels. Audio files should be in MP3 format (.mp3) created with a minimum setting of 128 kbps. Clips should preferably not exceed 60 seconds in length. You must have created and/or have permission to use all content within the clips, including video and images, audio material, and text.

A table of contents should be provided for long manuscripts. This will be placed between the abstract and the introduction. An index of species and genera should be provided in taxonomic papers, if the arrangement of taxa has not been alphabetical, as in a phylogenetic arrangement. This is placed at the end of the manuscript, after Literature Cited.


Once the manuscript is provisionally accepted, it is returned to the author with the Referees’ and Associate Editor’s recommendations. The author is required to respond to each of the comments and incorporate necessary changes into the manuscript. The author should also provide justification for any disagreement with the recommendations. The corrected manuscript should be single-spaced throughout, without line numbers, in Times New Roman 10-point font.

The corrected document along with the illustrations should be returned by email to the Associate Editor. Manuscripts will only be accepted once the author has addressed all of the Referees’ recommendations or comments, and has ensured that the format of the manuscript and illustrations comply with the format of the Journal. If the formatting of the corrected manuscript is found to be unacceptable, the Editors may request that authors reformat the manuscripts (also applicable to figures, illustrations, and tables). This will result in a delay in publication.

Authors’ proofs in PDF format are emailed to authors for correction together with the Agreement for the Transfer of Copyright Form (Form 3). The completed Form 3 must be either emailed or faxed with the returned proofs within a week.

A PDF version of the paper will be sent to the corresponding author immediately upon publication via email for early reference.


There will not be page charges for publishing in the RBZ. However, authors with papers longer than 20 pages (about 40 manuscript pages) are required to contact the Managing Editor at RBZ@nus.edu.sg before submitting the manuscript. Authors will receive an electronic copy of their paper in PDF format for personal use (note that copyright remains with the publisher).

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