Molluscan ResearchISSN 1323-5818
 An international journal of the Malacological Society of Australasia and 
the Society for the Study of Molluscan Diversity published by Magnolia Press

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Instructions to authors

General information 

Papers are considered on the understanding that they have not been submitted or published elsewhere and that all authors of a multi-authored paper agree to its submission. All manuscripts must be submitted in English.

All papers will be peer reviewed by at least two referees. Upon acceptance, copyright becomes the property of the Society and the author(s) must complete a Copyright Assignment form.

Please carefully follow the format outlined below. A current issue of Molluscan Research can be used as a guide, but please note that there are format changes from time to time.

Although monographs of up to 60 printed pages may be published in the journal, they will only be considered after consultation with the Managing Editor. We recommend that long monographic papers be submitted to Zootaxa.

Page charges will apply to non-members of the Malacological Society of Australasia or the Society for the Study of Molluscan Diversity for papers over six (6) printed pages at a rate of $AUD20 per page after the first six pages. These fees are payable to the Malacological Society of Australasia. There are no page charges payable by members of the Society.

The cost of production of colour figures in the print edition will be charged to authors.

Manuscript submission                                                                                      Back to index

Submission of your manuscript must be electronic. The main text should be a MS Word document or RTF file and the figures as a PDF file or located at the end of the doc or rtf file. Hard copy will not be accepted. Individual files should not exceed 3 MB in size. A manuscript can be split into several files if necessary.

Right margins should not be justified.

  • All text should be in Times New Roman, 12 pt.

  • Line spacing of text should be 1.5 lines

  • All pages of the manuscript must be numbered consecutively, including those carrying references, tables and figure captions, all of which are to be placed at the end of the manuscript.

  • Illustrations, both line drawings and photographs, are to be numbered as figures in a common sequence, and each must be referred to in the text with their intended  position indicated in the margin of the manuscript.

  • Illustrations and tables should be numbered in accordance with the order they are referred to in the text.

  • DO NOT submit high resolution artwork until the final acceptance of the manuscript

  • The first page of the manuscript should have the title, authors’ names and full postal addresses (including the email address or facsimile number of the corresponding author), a running head and up to 10 additional keywords that are not included in the title. 

  • The title should be concise and include higher classification details. The running head should not be longer than 50 characters (including spaces).

  • The remainder of the manuscript should normally be arranged with the following components: Abstract, Introduction, Materials and methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgments, References, tables, and table and figure captions (but see sections below).

  • The Abstract should be fewer than 200 words and should state concisely the scope of the work and give the principal findings. It should be complete enough for direct use by abstracting services.

  • The Introduction should explain why the work was undertaken and include essential background information and references.

  • Materials and methods should provide enough detail to allow the experiments or measurements to be repeated. This section can also include Abbreviations.

  • Headings for Introduction, Materials and methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgments and References should be in bold (in 12 pt) and on the left margin and on their own line.

Taxonomic contributions                                                                               Back to index

For taxonomic papers, the same components (primary headings) as standard papers should be used (see above), but the following additional instructions apply.

  • Headings for all taxonomic categories in taxonomic papers should be centred.

  • Under each species or group taxon heading, list the sections and headings in the following order:

Synonymies, including type details; Material examined (with subheadings: Type material; Other material); Diagnosis (optional); Description; Distribution; Remarks; Etymology.

The abbreviations ‘n. gen.’, ‘n. sp.’, or ‘n. subsp.’ should be used for indicating a new genus, species, or subspecies.

Author and date (in the format Smith, 1902 or Smith & Brown, 1902) should be cited following the first introduction of a genus or species name in the text. These are not references and should not be included in the reference list (unless they are also cited specifically as references or in a synonymy). Authors’ names and dates should also be used for genus-group and species-group names used in headings.

A synonymy must immediately follow the centred taxon headings. These must include the reference to the original description. References given (whether to the valid name or synonyms) should include the author, date, page number and any figure numbers, but should exclude the name of the publication, because this must be given under author and date in a list of references at the end of the paper.

Examples of format for species synonymy:

Xus yus Smith and Brown 1902: 304, pl. 3, fig. 4A; Jones and Smith 1934: 456; Dick 1956: 23, pl. 2, fig. 6. [Example of an available name.]

Wus yus.— Gail 1978: 56, pl. 4, fig. 5. [Example where genus name has been changed.]

Xus mus.— Hope 1987: 21, pl. 3, fig. 8; Freeman and Brown 2000: 400 (not of Black 1934). [Example of misidentification.]

Examples of format for genus synonymy:

Xus Smith 1902: 303. Type species (by subsequent designation of Jones and Smith 1934: 456): Xus yus Smith, 1902; Recent, Bolivia.

Wus Gail and Brown, 1978: 56. Type species (original designation): Xus yus Smith, 1902; Recent, Bolivia.

Multiple synonyms should be arranged in order of date of first application to the unit in question and, under each name, the separate references (if more than one is given) should be in chronological order.

If synonymies and references have previously been published these should not be repeated in full, if a reference to that source is given.

The type species, with author and date, should be cited immediately with the synonymy for each genus treated. The mode of designation can also be given.

Type data should be given for each valid species treated, the museum in which the primary type (holotype, syntypes, lectotype or neotype) is preserved should be given or, if the whereabouts of the type are unknown, what steps were taken to ascertain its whereabouts. Designation of a lectotype must be accompanied by an express statement of the taxonomic purpose of the designation.

Material examined. Concise lists of specimens examined should be presented for each species.

For type material, where only some of the type material has been examined then registration numbers of specimens examined should be listed. Other non-examined type material can be listed under Additional Type Material. Where no types have been examined, list the details under Type material prior to Material examined.

Example of format for type data (normally given under Material examined or, if not examined, under Type material).

Holotype of Condylocardia rectangularis. Off Beachport, South Australia, 73 m (SAMA D.14979, ex. D.10113, 2 v). [Example where more than one type specimen.]

Holotype. Off Emery Point, Darwin, Northern Territory, 12°27´S 130°49´E, coll. P. H. Colman, 25 Oct. 1969, on sandbar (AMS C.388191). [Example for new species.]

Paratypes. Off Emery Point, Darwin, Northern Territory, 12°27´S 130°49´E, coll. P. H. Colman, 25 Oct. 1969, on sandbar (AMS C.379877, 8 v). Sandbar No. 1, Darwin, Northern Territory, 12°26´S 130°48´E, coll. O. J. Cameron, 14 Nov. 1970 (AMS C.379878, 4 v; NTM P14470, 1 v). [Example for new species.]

All types of new taxa must be lodged in a public museum. Authors should make every effort to ensure that types are lodged in the most appropriate institution in the region from which the species originates and in accordance with the requirements of collecting permits or legislation. Authors should be aware of the wildlife protection acts governing the import and export of specimens of wildlife in the countries in which specimens were collected.

Information for non-type material should be presented after the heading ‘Other material’ in the following format (items in [ ] are optional):

Material examined                                                                                                  Back to index

Type material. See above. Other material. Locality, latitude and longitude, depth (if a marine species), [collector, date, habitat information], repository (i.e. museum), registered number (if available) (number of specimens – in parentheses). Locality, lat. long., etc.

Collection date should be given in the form 2 Aug. 2001.

For large material examined sections, authors should minimise the information to locality, repository, registered number and number of specimens only, and should summarise the information from label data in distribution maps or in the main text.

Records should normally be arranged geographically from north to south and east to west where practical.

Museum acronyms should conform to those normally used. They should be spelt out in a list under Materials and methods along with other abbreviations.

Museum registration numbers should be cited in the form required by the institution concerned, but there should not be a space between the letter and the number, i.e. C.3000 or F4000 not C 3000 or F 4000.

Citation of numbers of specimens should follow the registered number in the form (AMS C.3000, 2).

You may wish to specify details such as separate valves, empty shells, etc.; this can be done using abbreviations, e.g. (AMS C.3000, 2 v, 1 c).

Use bold headings for country and state names, etc.

Avoid needless repetition: group common localities together in the following way:

Sydney Harbour: Balmoral Beach, Lat. Long., date (museum registered number, number of specimens); Vaucluse, Lat. Long., date (museum registered number, number of specimens). Botany Bay: etc.

Multiple lots from the same locality should be given in the following way:

Balmoral Beach, Lat. Long.: subsidiary data (museum registered number, number of specimens; museum registered number, number of specimens); subsidiary data (museum registered number, number of specimens). Botany Bay, etc.

Distributions should usually be summarised in a distribution map.

Information regarding distribution, habitat, host association, seasonality, behaviour, and biology should be summarised in the body of the paper.

Diagnoses and descriptions                                                                                Back to index

The ‘telegraphic’ style is required for both. Authors should take particular care that this is done correctly.

Diagnoses should contain only the distinguishing characters or combination of characters for that taxon.

Descriptions should be subdivided by appropriate subordinate headings in italics at the left margin.

Comparative comments are to be placed under ‘Remarks’.

The use of figures to illustrate descriptions is encouraged and should permit some reduction in the length of the verbal description of the parts figured.

Measurements. Descriptions should include precise measurements of the type material and other relevant information (e.g., counts, colour) in table format. All tables must be numbered (see Tables below). For shelled species, measurements of more than just length and width should be provided. If multiple specimens are available, measurements of more than one specimen should be provided and summary statistics of multiple specimens can also be given.

Keys should use clear-cut and, preferably, readily accessible characters. Triplets or couplets can be used. Headings to keys should be self-explanatory. Tabular (i.e. synoptic or special purpose) keys are permitted where appropriate.

Short Communications                                                                                   Back to index

This style of paper may be used to present (1) the results of an important observation or well-designed but brief experiment in less than six manuscript pages OR (2) the description of one or a few new taxa.

The paper must include a brief (up to 150 words) Abstract. The body of paper should be arranged in the following order: Introduction; Materials and methods; Results (or Taxonomy for a taxonomic contribution); Discussion; Acknowledgments (if appropriate); References. No other headings should be used. The style for references, figures, tables, etc. is the same as for standard papers.

The Introduction should clearly indicate the need for the work and the discussion should place the work in a broader context, such as outlining the significance and/or relevance of the contribution to the field.

Brief taxonomic papers should generally otherwise follow the instructions below.

It is recognised that short papers describing new taxa are necessary given the large number of new molluscan taxa to be described, particularly in the Indo-west Pacific region. This style of paper is intended for the introduction of one or a few new taxa where a comprehensive review or analysis of a group is not involved. The following sections must be used: Abstract; Introduction; Taxonomy; Discussion; Acknowledgments (if appropriate); References.

Each description of a new species-group taxon should contain the following subheadings in the order given: Name; Synonymy (if appropriate); Material examined (Type material and Other material); Diagnosis; Description (including a table of standard measurements preferably of more features than length and width (see under Measurements above) of at least the holotype and, if more material is available, additional specimens); Remarks; Etymology. For genus-group taxa the following subheadings should be used in the order given: Name; Type species; Included species (as a list – where appropriate); Diagnosis; Remarks; Etymology.

The format for the text under each of the subheadings should be the same as in normal taxonomic papers (see above). The introduction to the paper should ‘set the scene’ and provide a brief overview of what is known about other related taxa (e.g. in the same genus). The description should be as comprehensive as possible and must include a table of standard measurements; in the remarks following the description, a comprehensive statement distinguishing the new taxon from related taxa should be given. The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature should always be adhered to. Primary type material must be lodged in a public natural history museum as detailed above. The discussion should include statements about the significance (e.g. biogeographic, evolutionary, conservation) of the new taxa or taxon.

General instructions                                                                                        Back to index

Statistical tests should be described briefly and, if necessary, supported by references. Numbers of individuals, mean values, ranges and measures of variability should be stated. It should be made clear whether the standard deviation or the standard error of the mean has been given.

The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (Fourth Edition, effective from 1 January 2000) and decisions by the ICZN must be adhered to.

Tables should be placed at the end of the manuscript in a simple MS Word TABLE format without borders to columns and rows within the body of the table, apart from horizontal lines under the column headings.

The width of tables (using 10 pt font) must not exceed the maximum width of the page (17 cm). Each table must be accompanied by a title. Normally data provided graphically should not normally be repeated in tabular form.

Footnotes in the text should be used only when essential. When needed, please use the footnote function in MS word or other word processors.

Latin names of genera and species and Latin words (et al., sensu lato) should be in italics. Italics should not be used for any other purpose.

The first mention in the text of the scientific name of a species or genus should be accompanied by the author and date, but subsequent use of these names should omit the author and date (e.g. Jones, 1999 or Jones & Brown, 1999) unless they are used in a heading.

Numbers in the text should (unless given as actual units of measurement) be spelt out as words if less than 10 and as numerals if more than 10.

Metric and Celsius units must be used. Do not give original imperial units unless quoting or for another particular reason.

When citing distances and measurements insert a single space between the number and the dimension (e.g. 5 mm, not 5mm).

References                                                                                                           Back to index

References should be cited in the text with the year of publication, e.g. Shepherd and Cannon (1988) or (Shepherd and Cannon 1988; Smith 1992, 1995). Note that commas are not used between the name and date in cited references. However, for authors of names, a comma should be included (recommended in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature) (e.g. Jones, 1999 or Jones & Brown, 1999). These should NOT be included in the references unless otherwise cited as an actual reference in the text or in a synonymy.

References must be listed alphabetically by first author and then chronologically at the end of the paper, in the following form:

Journal article:

Shepherd, S.A. & Cannon, J. (1988) Studies on southern Australian abalone (genus Haliotis). X. Food and feeding of juveniles. Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia 9, 21–26.  

Note: only use Roman numerals (as in this example) if they are used in the title of the original article.

Note: titles of periodicals are italicised and must not be abbreviated. Only proper nouns are capitalised in the paper title.


Short, J.W. & Potter, D.G. (1987) Shells of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. marine gastropods. Golden Press, Drummoyne, Australia.

(Note: add the country after the locality of the publisher only if the town or city is a minor one)

Habe, T. & Kosuge, S. (1967) The standard book of Japanese shells in colour 3. Hoikusha, Osaka (in Japanese).

(Note: the book title is in italics; only proper nouns are capitalised in the book title)

Book chapter:                                                                                                           

Kohn, A.J. & Amalsi, K.N. (1993) Comparative ecology of a biogeographically heterogeneous Conus assemblage. In: Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I.,  Kirkman, H.& Lethbridge, R. (Eds.), The Marine Flora and Fauna of Rottnest Island, Western Australia. Western Australian Museum, Perth, Australia, pp. 523–538. 

Monograph series:

Reeve, L. (1852-53) Monograph of the genus Pecten. Conchologia Iconica; or, illustrations of the shells of molluscous animals 8. Reeve, London, plates 1-35 + captions. 

Sowerby, G.B (2nd of name) (1842) Monograph of the genus Pecten. Thesaurus conchyliorum, or monographs of genera of shells. 1. Sowerby, London, pp. 45-78.

(Note: add the country after the locality of the publisher only if the town or city is a minor one). 

Dissertations resulting from graduate studies and non-serial proceedings of conferences/symposia are to be treated as books and cited as such. Papers not cited must not be listed in the references.

Online reference:

Huelsenbeck, J.P. & Ronquist, F. (2001) MrBayes 2.01: Bayesian inference of phylogeny. Available online at [Accessed on 1 July 2003.]

Figures                                                                                                                Back to index

Final figures for publication should be submitted only at the time of final submission following acceptance of the paper.

Electronic copies of figures are required (see below). All illustrations (line drawings, photographs, graphs, maps, etc.) should be numbered in the order that they appear in the text. Composite figures should have items labelled on each figure using capital letters in bold Helvetica font with a publication size of 3.0–3.5 mm.

Unsatisfactory artwork will be returned for correction.

General information on preparing files of plates for publication is also available here.

Figure captions Format as follows: 

Figure 1. Shells of species of Hydrobia. A, B, Hydrobia xus n. sp., holotype, TMH E3456; C-F, Hydrobia yus (Smith, 1924), C, Vigo, Spain, NHM, 789123; D-F, Crete, NHM, 667788. Scale bars: 1 mm.

Use the following format - institutional and other abbreviations can be listed separately. AL — aperture length; AMS — Australian Museum, Sydney; SW — shell width; TW — teleoconch whorls.

Print size. Figures should be able to fit into half a page (86 mm in width)  or take the whole page width (176 mm). The maximum printed size of a full page figure is 176 x 260 mm.

Line drawings must be submitted electronically (see below) and of good contrast.

Black and white photographs intended for reproduction as half-tone plates must be provided electronically (see below). They must be of the highest quality. If multiple photographs are to be used in a single figure, they should be mounted after being trimmed to exclude features not relevant to the paper and be separated from adjacent photographs by uniform spaces that will be 1 mm wide after reduction.

Colour photographs can be published in the print edition at author’s expense. Such figures must be submitted in reproducible form or electronically in RGB or CMYK format. Note that colour can be provided in PDF free of charge,

 A scale (when appropriate) must be included on the figure; magnifications cannot be given in the figure caption. Scale bars should be between 0.5 and 2 pt width at final size. Lengths can be given in the caption (preferable) or on the figure. Do not use magnifications in figure caption.

Lettering (labels) on figures should be in Helvetica bold font with only the first letter of any proper names capitalised. The height after reduction (i.e. printing size) should be no more than 3 mm and there should be good contrast with the background. Important features to which attention has been drawn in the text should be indicated. Leader lines should be a minimum width of 0.5 pt at final size.

Symbols should be about 3 mm in height in the printed version. Explanations of symbols should be given in the caption to the figure. The following symbols in Symbol font should be used: .

Graphs. Grid marks should point inwards; legends to axes should state the quantity being measured and be followed by the appropriate units in parentheses. Lettering should be kept to a minimum.

Figure captions                                                                                                     Back to index

Format as follows: Figure 1, Shells of species of Hydrobia. A, B. Hydrobia xus n. sp., holotype, TMH E3456. C-E. Hydrobia yus (Smith, 1924), Vigo, Spain, NHM, 789123. Scale bars: 1 mm.

Electronic files                                                                                                        Back to index

Electronic files of the final versions of both the text and illustrations (in the formats described below) should be sent when the paper has been accepted for publication. They may be sent on CD-ROM, PC disk or by email attachment. The electronic file should match exactly two hard copies of the final manuscript, which should accompany the disk (or be mailed when files are emailed).

The text, figure captions and tables should be sent as a single MS Word file, with the tables printed one per page at the end of the manuscript. If you are unable to supply a Word file, please contact the Managing Editor for acceptable alternatives.

We much prefer to receive illustrations electronically (both line diagrams and photographs) and electronic files are recommended for best quality reproduction. Scans of figures should be produced at high resolution in the required formats (see below). Electronic figures should be supplied on PC disk or CD-ROM as separate files together with two top quality hard copies (which can be scanned in the event of the disk files being corrupted, thereby avoiding unnecessary delay in the typesetting of your manuscript). Illustrations should be presented in black and white (or greyscale) unless colour is required.

Scanning figures                                                                                                            Back to index

Line drawings:  should be scanned at high resolution, at least 600 dpi at final (printed) size, and saved in black and white bitmap format as TIFF files. Fine line drawings with a lot of variable grey shading should be saved in greyscale format as TIFF files.

Black and white photographs: should be scanned at a resolution of at least 300 dpi at final size and saved in greyscale format as TIFF or Photoshop files. It is preferable for labels to be applied electronically to the scanned images, rather than scanning manually labelled figures.

Colour photographs and figures: should be saved in CMYK colour or RGB colour. Authors should note that colours change when converted to CMYK from RGB and when printed from different types of printer; hence it is important to check that the hard copy you provide is correct and matches the CMYK file version.

Computer-generated figures: (e.g. vector images such as maps, cladograms, statistical plots) may be saved in one of the following formats: Word, Excel or Adobe Illustrator. Or, scan them at least 600 dpi as 1 bit images and save as tiff files.  Avoid using 3D surface area charts because print quality is often poor. Remove colours from all charts and graphs.

NOTE: Scanned line art or photo plates embedded in Word are often difficult to import successfully into typesetting programs; please provide the final version in the formats given above.

Authors unable to prepare electronic artwork should submit lettered line drawings and lettered and mounted photographs that are suitable for direct reproduction and which comply with the instructions above. Unsatisfactory figures will be returned for correction. The Managing Editor may be consulted for further guidance.

Page proofs and corrections                                                                                       Back to index

Copyedited manuscripts and subsequently page proofs are sent to the corresponding author for checking prior to publication. At these stages only essential alterations and correction of publisher errors may be undertaken. Excessive author alterations at page proof stage will be charged to the author at $5 per each item.


A PDF file will be supplied to the corresponding author on publication of the article. Paper reprints may be ordered before publication upon completion of  an order form sent to the corresponding author with the final page proofs.  There are no free reprints provided.

Address for submissions and enquires                                                             Back to index              

Dr Winston F. Ponder
Australian Museum
6 College Street
NSW 2010

Related series by publisher
Zootaxa: Mollusca
Taxonomic papers and monographs on Mollusca from all over the world
Collected papers on all branches of zoology; vol. 1 on Mollusca
Related information
Preparing electronic files of plates for publication (by D.L. Geiger)
Copyright © 2005-2012 Magnolia Press Published: 26 Jun. 2012