Authors => Content


All articles must have a title and the details of the authors:


The title should be succinct and include the order, family and subfamily in parentheses (e.g. Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae: Pyrginae) for referencing, but not the names of any new taxon.

Authors, names and addresses

The full name(s) (e.g. John G. Smith) and addresses of all authors should be listed with their institution(s), where applicable, and their E-mail addresses.


Full articles should be structured in the normal scientific manner: e.g. Introduction, Material(s) and Methods, Results, Discussion, etc. with Acknowledgements and References at the end. In cases where these exact headings are not appropriate (e.g. taxonomic papers, short observations or notes, book reviews), the paper should be structured in a similar, logical fashion and divided into suitable sections with or without headings. A note with four or fewer references should have these references cited in the body of the text only.


The abstract should be concise (no more than 300 words), without citations or figure references, but complete and intelligible without reference to the text. It should cover the main results of the study, including (in taxonomic papers) all nomenclatorial changes or proposals of new taxa.

Key words

A maximum of 10 key words or phrases are allowed, in addition to those in the title.


This section should include the aims and objectives of the study and a concise summary of any relevant previous work on the subject matter (unless this follows under a separate heading).  

Material and methods

The material and methods should fully define the materials employed for the research, and the methods used to make observations and measurements. This section should explain all abbreviations, except the standard taxonomic ones and those of measurements, for which the International System of Units (SI) must be used. In experimental and purely descriptive work, the deposition of voucher specimens must be stated, as well as the deposition of type material for taxonomic work.


This section should describe the results of the study, supplemented by tables and graphs.


This section should include interpretation of the results, comparison with the work of others, and hypotheses to explain the results.


This section should be concise and simple, with the contributions of all non-author colleagues and co-workers recognised and attributed.


Citations in the text must use the Harvard citation protocol, such as the following examples:

“this aspect was investigated by Wilson (1998a)”

“this aspect was investigated earlier (Wilson, 1988a)”, or (Southwood et al., 1979), or (Thomas & Thomas, 1994).

Literature Cited

Citations must be alphabetically and chronologically listed under this section at the end of the article, and conform to the Harvard citation protocol, as follows:

ATKINS, A.F. 1975. The life history of Anisynta tillyardi Waterhouse and Lyell (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae: Trapezitinae). Australian Entomological Magazine 2: 72-75.
LARSEN, T.B. 1990. The butterflies of Egypt. Apollo Books, Svendborg. 112 pp.

FIGURNY-PUCHALSKA, E., GADEBERG, R.M.E. & BOOMSA, J.J. 2000. Comparison of genetic population structure of the large blue butterflies Maculinea nausithous and M. teleius. Biodiversity Conservation 9: 419-432.

THOMAS, J.A., CLARKE, R.T., ELMES, G.W. & HOCHBERG, M.E. 1998a. Population dynamics in the genus Maculinea (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae), pp. 262-290. In: Dempster, J.P. & McLean I.F.G. [eds.] Insect populations. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.


These articles (three pages or less for Notes and Letters to the Editor and a single page for a book review) do not have to conform to any laid down structure. If there are four or fewer references in a Note these should be cited in the body of the text only.



Scope of articles

Articles should preferably constitute a comprehensive treatment of a group delimited taxonomic, geographic, and ecological or other biologically meaningful criteria. Papers dealing with miscellaneous species having no such natural association or simply describing a single new species may also be accepted. The names of new taxa should not appear in the title, but all nomenclatorial changes must be listed in the abstract. Authors must fully comply with the 4th edition of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) and its recommendations and with the published opinions of the International Commission1. Attention of authors is also drawn to the recent publication by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) of an amendment to articles 8, 9, 10, 21 and 78 of the Code1, expanding the methods of publication allowed to include electronic publication after 20112.

1 The ICZN, 4th edition states that infrasubspecific names applied to a taxon are invalid and have no standing in terms of the Code. However, some forms and aberrations – curiosities – are of general interest to our readership. Articles utilising such terms may occasionally be published in Metamorphosis; however, this does not imply that Metamorphosis or the editor accept or endorse such descriptions. To the contrary, these names remain invalid, and should not be italicised when in print and when applied to a particular “taxon” of infrasubspecific status.

2 ICZN 2012. Amendment of Articles 8, 9, 10, 21 and 78 of the International code of Zoological Nomenclature to expand and refine methods of publication.  ZooKeys 219: 1-10. 



Headings of taxonomic categories above the species group should be preceded by the name of the category (e.g. genus, family). When used as taxonomic headings and with their first citation in the text, all genus and species group names should be cited with their author in unabbreviated form. Nomenclatorial changes should be indicated by the standardised abbreviations gen. nov., sp. nov., stat. nov., comb. nov., nom. nov., stat. rev., as recommended by the ICZN; all other abbreviations should be avoided or, if really necessary, explained in the section ‘Material and Methods’. Under each taxon heading at least the most important references to the taxon must be stated, i.e. its original description, revisions, keys, synonymies; such references must be included in the bibliography at the end of the document. With genera, the type-species with its author and date must be listed after the synonymy.




Descriptions of taxa should be furnished consistently in telegram style (i.e. without active verbs or articles), and should be followed by a section indicating the main diagnostic characters of the taxon and giving a comparison with its closest relatives and other similar taxa. A formal diagnosis can be given in addition to the description, or it can replace the description if a full description or re-description is deemed unnecessary. Descriptions of species should be based on the entire type-series, not only on the holotype, and new species should not be described from single specimens without some justification (e.g. stating the steps taken to locate/collect more). Names given to new taxa should be simple and euphonic, and species names based on geographic entities with complicated local names (e.g. townbushensis, skoorsteenkopensis) should be avoided.


All nomenclatorial and taxonomic changes (synonymies, type designations, generic transfers, changes in status, replacement of names, etc.) must be briefly justified, and nomenclatorial ambiguities and interpretation must be fully explained. If a type cannot be traced, an account should be given of the steps taken to ascertain its whereabouts.


Type designations


Type designations must be done in accordance with the ICZN, and types not recognised by the ICZN (homotype, metallotype, etc.) are not acceptable. The designation of allotypes should be avoided. Primary types (holotypes, lectotypes and neotypes) must be deposited in recognised public taxonomic institutions (not private collections) and, if at all possible, in the country of origin of the species. 


All specimens examined should be included in a section ‘Material examined’, citing all specimens and their depositories. The data on the specimen labels should be cited verbatim in the case of types but can be standardised for all other specimens examined, arranging the localities in alphabetical order within countries or provinces. Map co-ordinates are preferred, particularly for obscure localities. The lines of a label associated with a specimen are to be separated by a semi-colon and the items on the line by a comma, as per the following example:


Calvinia District, Northern Cape; 31°39.24′S, 20°53.41′E, 1254 m; 17 December 2011; J.B. Ball (full initials). Note that there are no spaces between the coordinates, that the degree sign ° is used, with the prime sign ′ (not the apostrophe) for minutes. If the label has seconds the double prime sign ″ is used.



Your initial document must be submitted as an electronic version by e-mail to the editor in MS Word 2010 or MS Word 2013 format, 11 point Times New Roman preferred, single-spaced. There is no necessity to format the text or justify the right margin. Use only the regular and italic fonts, with the italic font only for the scientific names of the genus and species. You can use boldface or vary type size for any sections or headers. Put returns only at the end of paragraphs, not at the end of each line. Use one tab to indent each paragraph. At the time of initial submission, all images (colour preferred) should be sent separately in digital form, preferably in high quality JPEG format. File transfer protocols such as Drop Box are preferred for large image files.


The standard spelling used in Metamorphosis can be found in “The South African Concise Oxford Dictionary 2002, Oxford University Press Southern Africa, Cape Town. (ISBN 0 19 571804 6)”

Examples of spelling used for commonly used scientific terms

antemedial                   ant-nest                                    chevron-shaped          

dark brown                  disco cellular               fore legs

forewing                      greyish-blue                 greyish-brown

greyish-white               ground colour              hind legs

hind wing                     host-ants                      larval host-plant          

light brown                  mid-brown                   middle legs                 

phyto-predacious         postdiscal                     reddish-brown

subbasal                       submarginal                 subspecies                  

subuncus, subunci       succulent-stemmed      underside                    

upper side


sp. nov.                        species nova

Fig.      Figs                  Figure, figures. Not lower case; no full stop after the plural

[ed.]     [eds.]               Editor, editors. In square brackets, full stop after the plural

pl.        pls.                   Plate, plates

p.         pp.                   Page, pages

sp.        spp.                  Species, plural of species

ssp.                              Subspecies

Numerals and units

There must be a non-breaking space between the numeral (value) and the unit, e.g. 1250 m; 5.0 mm; 35 °C.

When a range of values are given the lowest and highest values are separated by an endash, e.g. 14–18 mm. The same applies with figures, dates and so on, e.g. 1956–2001; Figs 1–4. Where there are two possible numerals the “&” sign is used, with spaces either side, e.g. Figs 4 & 5. The equals sign = has a space either side, e.g. n = 71.

Names of taxa

The first mention of any organism should include the full scientific name of the taxon with unabbreviated name of author(s) and year of description, e.g. Lepidochrysops methymna methymna Trimen, 1862. Note there is no comma between the taxon and the author’s name, but there is a comma between the author’s name and the date. Thereafter this is shortened to L. methymna with a non-breaking space (Ctrl-Shift-Space) to prevent separation at the end of a line.

Label data

The lines of the label are separated by a semi-colon, and the items on the line by a comma, as per the following example:

Calvinia District, Northern Cape; 31°39.24′ S, 20°53.41′ E, 1254 m; 17 December 2011; J.B. Ball (full initials). Note that there are no spaces between the coordinates, that the degree sign ° is used, with the prime sign ′ (not the apostrophe) for minutes. If the label has seconds the double prime sign ″ is used.


The preferred format for dates is:

Day (in Arabic numerals).Month (in lower case Roman numerals).Year (in four digit format Arabic numerals unless specifically noted otherwise).


Upon acceptance of an article, high quality images (600dpi) will be requested, and files can be submitted by e-mail or by use of the Drop-Box programme. Digital images must be TIFF or maximum quality JPEG files. Should you have further queries on this subject, please contact the editor. Figures must be numbered in a common sequence in Arabic numerals, irrespective of whether they are line drawings, photographs, diagrams, graphs or maps. Magnifications should be indicated by scale bars on the figures.

References to figures in text and captions should be as Fig. (plural Figs) and Figure respectively. Figure captions should be listed on a separate page. Maps are considered figures and should be so captioned. Do not use plate designations; multiple figures in a single grouping may be individually numbered or subdivided alphabetically (e.g. Figs 1a, 1b, etc.). Line drawings in black and white should include a metric scale. When arranging your figures whether separately or grouped consider that they may appear either as 1 column (width 8 cm) or in 2 columns (16.5 cm). Please do not fail to consider that sometimes high quality photographs in black and white may be superior to the use of colour.


Present tables in the simplest form possible. Tables must be numbered serially with Arabic numerals independent from illustrations. Tables should be provided at the end of the paper on separate pages and not embedded in the body of the text. Put the legends for tables on a separate page. When formulating tables, keep in mind that the final table will fill 1 column (width 8 cm) or 2 columns (16.5 cm).

Peer review

All full scientific articles will be evaluated by at least two reviewers. After review, the reviewer’s reports and other documents will be returned to the senior (or corresponding) author if necessary for correction. Failure to adequately address the issues raised by the reviewers to the Editor’s satisfaction may result in the article(s) being rejected for publication. In the event of any kind of dispute the Editor’s decision is final.

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