Collared Lizard, Crotaphytus collaris, photo by Steve Beaupre

Instructions to Authors

About the Journal

Copeia, the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH), invites submissions of original work dealing with the biology of fishes, amphibians, or reptiles or using those organisms as models for testing hypotheses of broad significance. Appropriate topics include, but are not limited to, such areas as ecology, conservation, life history, evolution, systematics, paleontology, taxonomy, biogeography, phylogeography, and physiology. Principal criteria for acceptance of articles are quality and significance of research, breadth of interest, and clarity and conciseness of expression. The journal does not publish range extensions, listings of species inhabiting geographic areas, teratological notes, or unsolicited review articles. Final acceptance of a paper for publication requires compliance with the style and format of the journal. Manuscripts cannot have been published or submitted elsewhere. ASIH members receive a waiver of page charges and a subsidy toward figure costs. Membership can be obtained by visiting the membership page.


ASIH retains copyright to all materials and works published in Copeia. All authors must agree to transfer copyright (or equivalent rights) for their manuscript and images to ASIH. By submitting a manuscript, the authors agree that the copyright (except where excluded) for their article and images will be transferred to ASIH upon article acceptance. No portion of the contents may be reproduced elsewhere without the express consent of the ASIH Secretary. Manuscripts that contain non-original artwork must include an explicit statement of usage with permission of the copyright holder.

Manuscript submission

Authors are encouraged to contact the Editor at copeiaeditor [at] with any questions or assistance needed. All aspects of manuscript processing in Copeia are electronic, including submission, review, and correspondence. Manuscripts must be submitted online via the “Submit manuscript” link located at the top of this page.

The Editorial Office will pre-screen each manuscript upon submittal. If deemed appropriate, the manuscript will then be reviewed by an Associate Editor and selected outside reviewers. Acceptance will be based upon the quality of the science and the appropriateness of the manuscript for the journal.

Online Submission Procedure

Before submitting a manuscript, please gather the following information:

  • All Authors
    • First Names, Middle Names/Initials, Last Names
    • Postal Addresses
    • Work Telephone Numbers
    • Email Addresses
    • Twitter handles (as desired)
  • Title and running head (you can cut and paste this from your manuscript).
  • Abstract (you can cut and paste this from your manuscript). This is for descriptive purposes only and does not stand for or replace the Abstract section of the article file.
  • A decision on whether you want the manuscript open access (see OPEN ACCESS section below)
  • Article file in MS Word (contact the Editor in advance regarding other formats).
  • Tables/Data files in Word or Excel.
  • Figures as separate files in TIF or PDF format (NOT embedded in article file).
  • Figure that authors want associated with any social media posts. These can be manuscript files or a supplemental file added independently for social media purposes. This file will be shared with all official Copeia announcements, so ensure that an author holds the copyright or that Copeia has the permission of the copyright holder to use the image.

After pressing the “Continue” button, you will be presented with five screens that gather detailed information about your manuscript and allow you to upload the pertinent files. The sequence of screens is as follows:

(1) Form asking for author, title, abstract, and file quantities.

(2) Form asking for the actual file locations on your computer via an open file dialog. After completing this screen, select “Submit manuscript files,” and the files will be uploaded to our server. Note: Figure file sizes larger than 20 MB each may not upload successfully. To ensure efficient uploading, be sure to restrict image dimensions to a maximum of 4,500 pixels in width and 5,400 pixels in height and use .lzw compression when possible.

(3) Form asking you to select the order in which the files should appear in the merged PDF created for the reviewers.

(4) Completion screen that will provide you with a manuscript tracking/identification number.

(5) Approval screen that will allow you to verify that your manuscript was uploaded and converted correctly. A red arrow will indicate the next step to be completed. Select “Check for Completion of File Conversion” to confirm that files have been converted. This step may be lengthy, depending on file sizes. You may need to continue to check for completion of conversion several times, or you may return at a later time to approve converted files. To complete your submission, you MUST EXAMINE AND APPROVE THE CONVERTED PDF files by selecting “Approve Converted Files.” If you do not explicitly approve the PDF files, your manuscript will not be submitted for editorial review.

Manuscript Submission Categories

Research Articles are peer-reviewed reports of the results of empirical research.

Reviews are typically solicited by Editorial Staff and usually provide “state of the art” perspectives offered by ASIH members. These reviews are subjected to peer review. Those seeking to submit an unsolicited review should contact either the Editor or an appropriate Associate Editor.

Symposium Proceedings are also subjected to the peer review process. Symposium organizers must contact the Editor prior to submission.

Announcements are in subjects of interest to Copeia readers. These may be edited and are not peer reviewed.

Obituaries or Historical Perspectives are typically solicited by editorial staff or Society historians. These pieces may be edited and are not peer reviewed. Those seeking to submit an unsolicited historical account should contact either the Editor or the appropriate Society historian.

Manuscript Requirements

The format of the submitted manuscript must follow Copeia style and format. All pages must be numbered, double-spaced throughout, and all lines numbered continuously. Copeia generally follows The Chicago Manual of Style. Use of the Oxford or serial comma is required. All measurements must be in SI units and abbreviations (except for common ones pertaining to measurement, time, or statistical test) must be defined at first use. Footnotes (other than in tables) are not permitted. Generic and specific names are italicized; italics are not used for emphasis or for abbreviations such as “e.g.,” “i.e.,” or “et al.” Scientific names may not be used as adjectives (e.g., use “populations of Aspidoscelis,” not “Aspidoscelis populations”). Taxonomic authorship should appear only when nomenclatural issues or ambiguity are involved. Recognized common names of organisms specify unique singulars, are regarded as proper nouns, and must be capitalized. All fish common names that are included in the current edition of the American Fisheries Society and American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Common and Scientific Names of Fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico must be used. Institutional abbreviations used in text and in Material Examined must follow the Standard Symbolic Codes for Institutional Resource Collections in Herpetology & Ichthyology (Sabaj, 2016) listed on the ASIH website ( Authors using such abbreviations are encouraged to insert the following sentence in their Materials and Methods section: “Institutional abbreviations follow Sabaj (2016).”

All submissions must be in English and consist of cover letter, article file, tables, figures, and supplemental material (if any). Article files are arranged in the following order: cover page, abstract, body of text (including acknowledgments at end), literature cited, figure captions, author addresses, appendices (if any). Tables, figures, and supplemental files must be submitted as separate, independent files (one file per table or figure) and not included as part of the article file.

Cover Letter

All Copeia submissions should include a cover letter of 300 or fewer words that briefly states the significance of the research, agreement of authors for publication, and information regarding the preferred size (one column, one-and-a-half column, or two column width) and color publication (grayscale, color online only, or color in print and online) of figures. If an author has a preferred Associate Editor, please include that information in this letter. This file will only be seen by the editorial staff, and it will not be seen by the reviewers of the manuscript.

Article File

Cover Page is mandatory as the first page of the article file and must contain the following entries in order:

  • Title of manuscript, using title capitalization. New taxonomic names may not appear in the title.
  • Full names of all authors in the order of authorship; use trailing superscript Arabic numeral for institutional affiliation(s).
  • Suggested running head of 140 characters or fewer.
  • Six keywords not found in the title.
  • Author address(es), to include department, institution, postal address, and email. For multiple authors, format individual entries separately and use leading superscript Arabic numeral to associate author with address entry. Author to receive reprint requests may be specified with “Send reprint requests to this address.”
  • Twitter handles may be provided for any author who wishes to be tagged or referenced in social media postings regarding the article.

Abstract is required of all submissions and must present a concise summary of the investigation—what was done, observed—and interpretations/significance of the findings and not simply list the topics discussed or preface the Introduction. The abstract is untitled in the text and must be limited to a single paragraph. A non-English translation of the English version is permitted. Literature citations in the abstract are not permitted.

Body of Text may employ named sections at three levels (i.e., primary, secondary, and tertiary) and cannot be lettered or numbered. Primary sections are all caps, bold font, left justified, and employ the following heads: MATERIALS AND METHODS, RESULTS, DISCUSSION, DATA ACCESSIBILITY, ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, LITERATURE CITED, and figure captions. Note that the Introduction is not titled in the article file text. If appropriate, MATERIAL EXAMINED follows DISCUSSION, and appendices follow figure captions.

If only two heading levels are used, follow this format:


Study site.—

If three heading levels are used, follow this format:


Study sites

Study site a.—

Study site b.—

Taxonomic Accounts: Papers that include taxonomic accounts, such as taxonomic reviews and new species descriptions, may substitute the following standard presentation for the RESULTS section: (1) taxonomic name in bold font, common name(s), table and figure appearances of new name (these left justified and each appears on separate line); (2) holotype, paratype(s), non-type material; (3) diagnosis (Copeia requires diagnosis by demonstration—a true differential diagnosis that specifies the features that serve to differentiate the new taxon from all others at rank, along with the taxa that share the alternative state(s) is preferred); (4) description; (5) supplementary notes, such as coloration, ecology, distribution, comparisons, etc. as appropriate; (6) etymology. Items 2–6 are formatted as second-level sections. Listing of specimen material must follow standard style and order of presentation; see a recent issue for examples. Please note that all uses of new taxonomic names that appear before the formal description (i.e., RESULTS section [1]), should include the phrase ", new species" after the scientific name (e.g., Homo sapiens, new species). Also note that Copeia exclusively uses "new species" and not "n. sp." or "sp. nov.".

All new taxa must include ZooBank identifiers. Authors should consult the ZooBank website ( to find the information needed to register new names. The site includes several video tutorials ( that familiarize you with the website, show you how to create an account, and show you how to register a publication and a new name. After registration, please include the nomenclatural act identifier (e.g., on the line below the new name in the manuscript. The Copeia editorial office will register new names with ZooBank if these are not included in the accepted manuscript.

All manuscripts that include newly published or altered phylogenetic trees must include the tree file(s) for submission to the Open Tree of Life project ( We request that you provide the final Newick tree file(s) with all of the terminals properly labeled to match the scientific names in your paper. These tree files will be made available on the Copeia supplemental website and will be uploaded to the Open Tree of Life website by the Copeia editorial office.

Supplemental Information: Copeia provides a platform ( for supplemental files that are not essential to a reader’s understanding of the research (e.g., tables, figures, video or audio files, programming scripts, spreadsheets, databases, Newick trees, or alignments). Supporting information should submitted in .doc, .pdf, .txt, or .xls formats for most files. We will also accept specialized file types for media (.aiff, .mpeg, .mov, .mp4, or .wav) and discipline-specific file types (e.g., .nex or .tre for phylogenetic studies). Supplemental data files will not be edited and should conform to Copeia style. Editors and reviewers will view the files during peer review, but the editorial office will not copyedit, typeset, or format supplemental data. Please note that each individual file is limited to 20 MB, so large videos may need to be broken into smaller videos or have their resolution decreased. Each file should be submitted as a separate file on Allen Track and given a title that indicates its supplemental status (e.g., Supplemental Figure A). To cite supplemental material within the manuscript, use in text citations such as “(Supplemental Table A).” Alternatively, authors may choose to deposit supplemental material in another digital repository, such as Dryad, as long as it is a permanent, stable repository.

With any use of supplemental material, a primary section with the heading DATA ACCESSIBILITY should be included following the Discussion and before the Acknowledgments. This section should include the DOI of the supplemental material and any other identifying information.

For a Dryad submission, follow this format:

Data are available from the Dryad Digital Repository:

When using the Copeia supplemental site, follow this format:

Supplemental information is available at

The correct URL will be added by the editorial office prior to publication.

Acknowledgments identify individuals by name and do not list professional titles. Institutional affiliation may be provided where acknowledging institutional (rather than personal) support. It is Copeia policy that neither ASIH editors nor reviewers, in the conduct of their duties, be acknowledged for improvement of manuscripts. Collecting permits, institutional animal care protocols, and accession numbers for molecular data and voucher specimens (if not listed elsewhere) must be cited in Acknowledgments.

Literature Cited is double-spaced and formatted identically for all manuscripts. Titles of journals are provided in full without terminal punctuation. Names of authors use bold, standard font. References are listed alphabetically by author surname. When there is more than one article with the same first author, organize references alphabetically by second (then third, or fourth, etc.) author surname. If there are more than 15 authors, list the first 14 authors, add an ellipsis (…), and add the last author name. See examples of formatting below.

More than 15 authors

Alföldi, J., F. Di Palma, M. Grabherr, C. Williams, L. Kong, E. Mauceli, P. Russell, C. B. Lowe, R. E. Glor, J. D. Jaffe, D. A. Ray, S. Boissinot, A. M. Shedlock, C. Botka…K. Lindblad-Toh.2011. The genome of the green anole lizard and a comparative analysis with birds and mammals. Nature 477:587–591.

Journal article

Taylor, R., and C. C. Van Dyke. 1985. Revised procedures for staining and clearing small fishes and other vertebrates for bone and cartilage study. Cybium 9:107–119.

Chapter in an edited book

Bevier, C. R. 2016. Physiological and biochemical correlates of calling behavior in anurans with different calling strategies, p. 63–79. In: Amphibian and Reptile Adaptations to the Environment: Interplay between Physiology and Behavior. D. V. de Andrade, C. R. Bevier, and J. E. de Carvalho (eds.). CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.

Authored book

Nelson, J. S., T. C. Grande, and M. V. H. Wilson. 2016. Fishes of the World. Fifth edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.

Edited book

Caira, J. N., and K. Jensen (Eds.). 2017. Planetary Biodiversity Inventory (2008–2017): Tapeworms from Vertebrate Bowels of the Earth. University of Kansas, Natural History Museum, Special Publication No. 25, Lawrence, Kansas.

Unpublished dissertation

Baldwin, C. R. 1992. Larvae and relationships of epinepheline serranids (Teleostei: Percoidei). Unpubl. Ph.D. diss., College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.


IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. (accessed 5 December 2017).

Manuscripts submitted, abstracts, in-house or intra-agency reports, and any works not readily obtainable through normal channels may not be placed in Literature Cited, but must instead be cited in text as unpublished work (“unpubl.”) or personal communication (“pers. comm.”). Commercial and readily available software cited in the text must specify the version and source (author/publisher) and conform to the following guidelines:

(1) when the software is identified by author name(s) and where there exists a published reference or an unpublished online reference to the software, the author/date is cited in text as for a standard text citation (e.g., “Bouckaert et al., 2014”; “R Core Team, 2016”) and a corresponding full citation is entered in the Literature Cited section using standard Copeia style. For example:

Bouckaert, R., J. Heled, D. Kühnert, T. Vaughan, C-H. Wu, D. Xie, M. A. Suchard, A. Rambaut, and A. J. Drummond. 2014. BEAST 2: a software platform for Bayesian evolutionary analysis. PLoS Computational Biology 10:e1003537.

R Core Team. 2016. R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.

(2) when the software is identified by product name only (e.g., SigmaPlot, version 14.0), the commercial source with URL (when available) is specified in parentheses (e.g., Systat Software, Inc., San Jose, CA;, and there is no corresponding entry in the Literature Cited section.

Citations should be in chronological order, with a comma separating author and year, and a semicolon between citations (e.g., “Smith, 2005; Johnson et al., 2017”). When citing more than one publication by an author in the same year, use “a” and “b” designations (e.g., “Smith, 2005a, 2005b”). Please note that the “a” reference must be cited first in the body of text. Text citations must agree with the Literature Cited. Citation strings should be limited to the minimum necessary to support the given statement; over-citation for the appearance of scholarship is not permitted.


Tables (numbered in Arabic) must each appear with a short heading beginning “Table x” and be double-spaced, use bold font and sentence capitalization, and have no associated graphics or vertical lines. Tables must be numbered consecutively in the order of their reference in the text; citation style is “(Table 1)”. Tables must not be submitted as images. Word or Excel files are preferred.


Figures must be submitted as separate files, not embedded in text files or as a single PDF. Figure captions are listed sequentially beginning with “Fig. x.” and are included in the article file following the Literature Cited. Figures are numbered consecutively in the order of their reference in the text; citation style is “(Fig. 1)”.

Only digital files can be used for publication. We highly recommend that all non-vector based images (e.g., color, grayscale, or black and white images/photographs prepared with software such as Adobe Photoshop) be submitted as TIF files. These images should be submitted at desired publication size with a resolution of at least 300 dpi, although 600 dpi is preferred for optimal results. We recommend that vector-based images (e.g., cladograms or files prepared with software such as Adobe Illustrator) be submitted as PDF files. We strongly discourage the use of Microsoft PowerPoint for the creation of figures.

Labels on figures should be sufficiently large (at least 3.0 mm high after reduction) to guarantee optimal results. Lettering within figures (e.g., axis titles, labels, etc.) should be in lowercase type with the first letter capitalized, without full stop, and using a sans serif font (e.g., Gill Sans, Helvetica). Parts of figures should be indicated by bold, upright (not italic), uppercase letters in a sans serif font without periods or parentheses. When several drawings or photographs are grouped as a single “plate,” they must be arranged as one unit on a single page and each lettered with an uppercase block letter. Do not include titles such as “Figure 1” in the figure itself. Genus and species names must be in italics. Measures should have a single space between the number and the unit and follow SI nomenclature or the nomenclature common to a particular field. Unusual units or abbreviations must be defined in the figure caption. Scale bars rather than magnification factors should be used, with the length of the bar defined in the caption, rather than on the bar itself. We suggest using a color vision deficiency-friendly palette (e.g., blue-orange rather than red-green).

Figures will be published at either one-column (~87 mm, 3.43 in), one-and-a-half-column (~135 mm, 5.32 in), or two-column (~183 mm, 7.2 in) widths at the discretion of the Editor. Maximum column length is 245 mm. Because the relationship between image resolution, file size, and dimensions can be confusing with non-vector based images, it is perhaps helpful to think about the number of pixels required across the image at a given resolution as guide for preparing figures:

  • one-column width, 3.43 inches X 400 dpi = approx. 1370 pixels across
  • one-column width, 3.43 inches X 600 dpi = approx. 2060 pixels across
  • two-column width, 7.2 inches X 400 dpi = approx. 2880 pixels across
  • two-column width, 7.2 inches X 600 dpi = approx. 4320 pixels across

Authors of papers having one or more color illustrations will have the option of publishing color illustrations in the online version of Copeia when electing to publish those same figures in grayscale in the paper journal. Artwork is subject to the same criteria for acceptance via peer review as applied to illustrations appearing in the paper version.

Editorial Policies

The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists endorses the principle that experimental use of live animals should only be for the purpose of advancing knowledge and must conform with National Institutes of Health (NIH) animal care guidelines. If organisms are maintained in the laboratory, or if experimental procedures are performed in the field, then requisite Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol numbers must be cited in Acknowledgments. Reports involving sampling or removal of organisms from natural populations must indicate, in text, the depository and catalog numbers or other identifier of voucher specimens and, in Acknowledgments, the numbers of requisite permits and licenses. Analyses based on molecular sequence data must cite the relevant GenBank accession numbers (or similar) in the text. Holotypes of taxa described in Copeia as new to science must be deposited in large collections and secondary types of these taxa should be distributed among several museums.

Authorship implies responsibility. All authors should have played a significant role in designing and performing the research and in writing the manuscript. Those whose roles were limited solely to providing materials (to include financial support), collecting data, or reviewing the manuscript should be recognized in Acknowledgments. Honorary authorship must be avoided.


Page charges are billed to the corresponding author upon initial distribution of page proofs and are assessed at $110 per printed page, $150 for color-online images, and $800 for color-print images. Page charges are waived and figure charges are subsidized when one or more authors are current ASIH members. Contact the ASIH Business Office ( for membership rates and payment procedures.

Figure production continues to be one of the most expensive parts of journal production. In the past, Copeia subsidized all grayscale images and some of the costs associated with color images for Society members. To encourage publication of color images where beneficial and to more accurately reflect the relative cost of figure production, we have transitioned to an explicit cost structure for authors wishing to include figures in their manuscripts.

The charge for each figure is as follows for Society members:

  • Grayscale online/print: $100
  • Color online/grayscale print: $150
  • Color online/print: $300

Manuscripts that include an ASIH member as an author receive a subsidy of $1500. Manuscripts that include an ASIH student member as lead author receive a subsidy of $2000. The subsidy can be applied to any combination of color or grayscale figures, with authors being responsible for any balance.

Contributors are not charged for images chosen for the cover of each issue. Non-members of ASIH receive no subsidy. Color figures intended for online publication only must be included in the original submission even when opting for grayscale in the paper version. The accompanying cover letter to the Editor must clearly specify the author intentions for color reproduction. Contact the Editor for further details.

Symposium Special Editors receive a subsidy of $3500 to distribute to contributing authors at their discretion (this is in addition to the normal subsidy offered to each author). Reviewers for Copeiareceive a $500 figure subsidy credit for each review they submit within 20 days. Authors should note this service subsidy in the cover letter when submitting a manuscript that will use this subsidy.

Open Access

Beginning in 2019, Copeia has several new open-access policies ranging from a comparatively inexpensive full "Gold Open Access" option for members to formal permission for "Green Open Access" for the deposition of submitted manuscripts into non-commercial preprint servers such as bioRxiv and post-acceptance digital repositories.

Gold Open Access: Authors can now pay to make their research freely available to all interested parties from both the BioOne ( and membership-based ( journal websites upon publication of their article. Members of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists can make their article fully open access for $500, and non-members can make their article fully open access for $2500.

Green Open Access, Self-Archiving, Non-Commercial Preprint Servers, and Dissertation Chapter Deposition: Prior to acceptance for publication, Copeia allows authors to deposit manuscripts in non-commercial preprint servers such as bioRxiv. Upon publication of a paper in Copeia, it is important that authors update the article to the accepted version, provide a link from the preprint to their formal publication via its Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and add the following text to their preprint server manuscript: "This article has been accepted for publication in Copeia."

Following publication, Copeia allows authors to deposit their accepted manuscript in non-commercial digital repositories associated with their employers as long as the following conditions are met: 1) the manuscript, tables, figures, and supplemental material are included in manuscript form (i.e., not the type-set proof or final publication), 2) the copyright to the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and year is noted, and 3) the full published citation and DOI are included.

Personalized Open Access for 50 Days for Free: ;All Copeia authors are given a personalized link to share that provides 50 days of free access to their article from the date of publication. This link will take readers directly to the final version of the article and does not require registration or login. This service is provided to help authors share Copeia research with the press and social media without any barriers to access.