African Journal of Herpetology | National Inquiry Services Centre

African Journal of Herpetology

ISSN: 2156-4574 (Print)
            2153-3660 (Online)
Publication frequency: 2 issues per year

1.5 (2022) Impact Factor
1.2 (2022) 5-year IF

2.6 (2022) CiteScore (Scopus)

Accredited with the DHET (SAPSE)

Official publication of the Herpetological Association of Africa (HAA)

Co-published with Taylor & FrancisClick here for Open Access options on this journal


Aims & Scope

African Journal of Herpetology (AJH)  serves as an outlet for original research on the biology of African amphibians and reptiles. AJH is an interdisciplinary journal that publishes original articles and reviews from diverse fields and disciplines, such as conservation, phylogenetics, evolution, systematics, performance, physiology, ecology, behavioural ecology, ethology, and morphology.

The Journal publishes two issues a year. There are no page charges .

Peer Review Statement 
African Journal of Herpetology is an international, peer-reviewed journal which publishes high quality, original research contributions to scientific knowledge. All manuscript submissions are subject to initial appraisal by the Editor-in-Chief, and, if found suitable for further consideration, to peer review by independent, anonymous expert referees. All peer review is double anonymized and submission is online via ScholarOne Manuscripts.




Editorial board


Dr Jessica da Silva

South African National Biodiversity Institute,
Kirstenbosch Research Centre,
Cape Town,
South Africa

Associate Editors 

Prof Graham Alexander – University of the Witswatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Dr Jody Barends - South African Biodiversity Institute, South Africa

Dr Luis Ceríaco – Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA

Prof Courtney Cook – North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Assoc Prof Shelley Edwards – Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

Dr Harith Farooq – Lúrio University, Pemba, Mozambique

Dr Melissa Petford – Flora, Fauna & Man, Ecological Services Ltd

Dr Walter Paulin Tapondjou N. – Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Florida, USA

Dr Melita Vamberger – Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden, Germany


Editorial Advisory Committee

Krystal Tolley, Chair – South Africa
Aaron M. Bauer– Usa
Mathias Behangana – Uganda
David C. Blackburn – Usa
Beryl A. Bwong – Kenya
Uwe Fritz - Germany
Eli Greenbaum – Usa
Edward C. Netherlands – South Africa
Jeanne Tarrant – South Africa



Latest Issue

Volume 73, Issue 1, 2024


Distribution, habitat and vulnerability to climate change of the Endangered Leptopelis xenodactylus
Author(s): Kirsty J. Kyle North-West University, South Africa , Louis H. Du Preez North-West University, South Africa , James Harvey 41 Devonshire Avenue, South Africa , Adrian J. Armstrong Centre for Functional Biodiversity, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Pages: 13–27
New distribution records and population density of the Critically Endangered Tarzan Chameleon (Calumma tarzan), eastern Madagascar
Author(s): Alain JV Rakotondrina Madagasikara Voakajy, Madagascar , Raphali R Andriantsimanarilafy Madagasikara Voakajy, Madagascar , Hanta J Razafimanahaka Madagasikara Voakajy, Madagascar , Achille P Raselimanana , Madagascar , Rikki Gumbs Zoological Society of London, United Kingdom , Caleb Ofori-Boateng Zoological Society of London, United Kingdom , Jody M Taft South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, South Africa , Fanomezana M Ratsoavina Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar
Pages: 36–47
The impact of Eucalyptus plantations on herpetofaunal diversity, Maputo National Park, Mozambique
Author(s): PR Jordaan Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa , A Wilken University of Pretoria, South Africa , X Combrink Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
Pages: 48–60
A new bullfrog from southern Africa (Pyxicephalidae, Pyxicephalus Tschudi, 1838)
Author(s): Louis H du Preez North-West University, South Africa , Edward C Netherlands North-West University, South Africa , Mark-Oliver Rödel , Germany , Alan Channing North-West University, South Africa
Pages: 61–89
Burrow site selection in the Sungazer (Smaug giganteus): a threatened South African endemic lizard
Author(s): Wade K Stanton-Jones School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa , Daniel JD Natusch Macquarie University, Australia , Graham J Alexander School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Pages: 90–104

Short Communication

Testing the thermal melanism hypothesis for Cape Cobras (Naja nivea) using community science photographic data
Author(s): Jody M Barends University of Johannesburg, South Africa , Kim J Scholtz University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Pages: 118–125


Science in decline: Is quality sacrificed for quantity and ease of access?
Author(s): Krystal A. Tolley Kirstenbosch Research Centre, South Africa , Graham J. Alexander University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Pages: 126–129


Instructions for Authors

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Author FAQ


Instructions for Authors

Thank you for choosing to submit your paper to the African Journal of Herpetology. These instructions will ensure we have everything required so your paper can move through peer review, production and publication smoothly. Please take the time to read and follow them as closely as possible, as doing so will ensure your paper matches the journal’s requirements.

Editorial Policy and Submission

Submission of a manuscript implies that the work has not been published before, that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, and that the authors and any co-authors abide by the ethical guidelines of the journal (see below). Manuscripts must be submitted throughScholarOne: - Please read the guide for ScholarOne authors before making a submission. Manuscripts are all peer-reviewed by a minimum of two reviewers. We follow a double-anonymized approach during reviews, whereby neither the author’s nor the reviewer’s identity is known to either party.


The research must be original work and the authors must be accountable for the work presented. Manuscripts not written by the original, listed authors will not be considered for review.  All listed authors must have reviewed the final manuscript and agreed to the content prior to submission. In addition, all authors are expected to have reviewed substantially modified versions of the manuscript. To qualify as an author, individuals are expected to have made a substantial contribution to the final product. They may have contributed to several of the following areas: conceptualising/generating funding/project oversight, lab/field work, analyses, interpretation, writing and/or significant re-drafting. Researchers who do not meet the authorship criteria should be listed in the acknowledgements. The corresponding author is required to inform all authors of the content of the reviews and the revision process. In addition, the corresponding author must ensure that the manuscript and the co-authors comply with best practices.  To improve author transparency and unambiguous contributions, authors and co-authors are required to provide their Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier ( ORCID ) identification numbers when submitting to AJH. Large-Language Models ( LLMs ), generative AI, and chatbots (artificial intelligence tools) do not adhere to these authorship criteria, and therefore may not be used to prepare the manuscript text, nor included as authors.

Data Handling and Methods

Data and analyses presented should be transparent and reproducible. Specimens and associated metadata, where applicable, must be made available in a public repository (e.g., museum) and the accession numbers provided. Data and observations must be made available in a public data repository (e.g., GenBank, Dryad, iNaturalist, GBIF or other relevant repositories) and the accession numbers, dataset DOI, link or other unique identifier included in the manuscript. Metadata for DNA samples must be included, and DNA sequences deposited in a data repository (e.g., GenBank, EMBL). We strongly encourage the corresponding DNA samples to be deposited in a publicly available DNA bank and the accession numbers included in the publication. The availability of custom written code or modifications to available code that was central to data analyses must be acknowledged, provided as supplemental material, or deposited in a public database  (e.g., Dryad, FigShare) and the relevant link included in the manuscript. The use of any LLM as a methodological tool to produce code is allowed but must be fully disclosed in the Methods section of the manuscript.

Research Ethics

Research ethics practices must be adhered to, and where applicable the relevant ethics clearance certificate number(s) must be stated in the Acknowledgements. Several international ethics bodies have published their guidelines or regulations and authors should refer to these to ensure that best practices are followed. This includes ensuring the 3R’s (replacement, reduction, refinement) are adhered to. Authors can refer to the British Herpetological Society ethics guidelines ( for advice. Authors are expected to comply with the permitting regulations of the country where the work was carried out and to include relevant permit numbers in the Acknowledgements. The authors must declare any conflicts of interest such as competing interests that might have biased the content.  All funding sources and affiliations must be stated or acknowledged. For further advice, authors can consult the following publication regarding transparency and integrity in scientific publishing: 

Manuscript Categories

African Journal of Herpetology serves as an outlet for original research on the biology of African amphibians and reptiles. African Journal of Herpetology is an interdisciplinary journal that publishes original articles and reviews from diverse fields and disciplines, such as conservation, phylogenetics, evolution, systematics, performance, physiology, ecology, ethology, and morphology.
Original articles - are full-length manuscripts between 5 000 to 7 500 words.
Short communications - are more concise reports (up to 2 500 words) that lack headings, but should include an abstract (up to 200 words), and if relevant, acknowledgements and references.
Reviews - may be solicited by the editor. Reviews should be within the aims and scope of the journal and include original commentary and/or insight on a coherent topic. Authors wishing to submit a review should contact the editor prior to submission.

Manuscript Presentation

Title page - required for all contributions and should include full title, author names and affiliations, 5-8 keywords and a suggested running head. Please also include the acknowledgments with the title page, rather than in the body of the manuscript, as this will facilitate anonymized peer review. Acknowledgements of individuals and organisations should be brief and recognise, inter alia, collecting permits, funding, etc. provided to individual authors. Any mention of authors should refer to them by initials only (e.g., GJA for Graham J. Alexander).

Abstract - a concise statement of the scope of the work, the principal findings and the conclusions and should not exceed 250 words. It should not contain references. An abstract is required for both original articles and short communications. The AJH will publish two abstracts per article. One must be in English and the second may be in one of the following languages: Arabic, French, Portuguese or Swahili.

Main text - should be prepared in MSWord. The headings and text should be presented in 12 point Arial or Calibri font. The text should use 1.5 line spacing, with no extra line spacing, and should not include text columns, creative formatting or additional typefaces and fonts. Headings should be sentence case and never numbered. There should be no more than three heading levels: 1) bold, 2) bold italics, 3) italics. Endnotes, not footnotes, may be used sparingly. Tables and figures (graphs, photographs or scanned images) should not be part of the text but prepared as separate files. Write in clear English (UK spelling). Consult the Oxford English Dictionary for spelling, capitalisation, hyphenation and abbreviation conventions, and the Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors and Publishers (8th edition) (2014) for scientific style and a copy of the journal for AJH style conventions. 

The International System of Units (Systeme Internationale; SI) should be followed. Use decimal points rather than commas. Measures should be in mm, m or km rather than cm or dm. Integers less than 10 should be spelt, while those greater than 10 (including 10) should be given numerically. Group integers of thousands together with a space and do not use a comma (e.g. 10 500 and 1 230). All statistical symbols should be italicised. Follow the Fourth Edition (1999) of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. For Original Articles, the manuscript should be arranged as follows: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and References. Appendices, Tables, Legends to Figures, must follow the References. Abstract and Figures are submitted separately (see detailed section on figures). Supplementary Electronic Material should be submitted as a separate file.

The Introduction should be concise and provide the aims and context of the study in relation to other work done in the same field, but should not give an exhaustive review of the literature. Materials and Methods should provide sufficient information to allow the study to be replicated. Results should be presented with clarity and precision. Discussion should deal with the interpretation of the results, pointing out their significance with reference to the reason for undertaking the research. References should be listed in alphabetical order and should refer only to publications cited in the text. The journal follows CSE name-date convention and references should be in the following format:

Chapter in a collection: Bruford MW, Hanotte O, Brookweld JFY, Burke T. 1992. Singlelocus and multilocus DNA Fingerprinting. In: Hoezel AR, editor. The South American Herpetofauna: Its Origin, Evolution, and Dispersal. Molecular Genetic Analysis in Conservation. Oxford: IRL Press.
Thesis: Russell AP. 1972. The foot of gekkonid lizards: a study in comparative and functional anatomy. [PhD thesis]. London: University of London.
Book: Spawls S, Howell K, Drewes R, Ashe J. 2002. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. London: Academic Press.
Article: Branch WR. 2007. A new species of tortoise of the genus Homopus (Chelonia: Testudinidae) from southern Namibia. Afr. J. Herpetol. 56:1–21.
Website: Wilgenbusch JC, Warren DL, Swofford DL. 2004. AWTY: a system for graphical exploration of MCMC convergence in Bayesian phylogenetic inference. [accessed 15 April 2011].

A Mendeley reference style is available to download at
Literature citations should be in chronological order: (Jacobs 1952, 1966; Edwards and Holmes 1965; Rosen et al. 1990). When a paper with more than two authors is cited, only the first appears in the text (Taylor et al. 1993). If a paper has more than ten authors, only the first five should appear in the references followed by et al. Cite unpublished data as e.g. Alexander (in press), which then appears in the list of references, or as G.J. Alexander (pers. comm.), in which case Graham J. Alexander’s name and institutional affiliation should appear under Acknowledgements. Unpublished reports are cited as personal communications. Abbreviate journal names in the References in the standard way as determined by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and all journal titles and abbreviations are maintained by ISSN International Centre and available at Other useful lists of official journal titles are available from the National Library of Medicine Catalog that list journals referenced in the NCBI Databases, and on many university library guides. We encourage the use of a tool such as EndNote for reference management and formatting.

Tables - should be in Arabic numerals, and on separate pages with a legend at the top. Set up tables in MSWord (or Excel) and should be composed with the limitations of the journal page size in mind. All tables should be mentioned in the text.

Figures - must be restricted to the minimum needed to clarify the text. The same data should not be presented in both graph and table form. All figures must be mentioned in the text and numbered consecutively (Arabic numerals). Colour artwork will be reproduced in the online version of the article only and converted into black and white for print purposes. Therefore, choose colours carefully so that information is not lost from graphs and maps when they are reproduced in black and white. Selected pages may be printed in colour, at the editor’s discretion, and preference given to new species descriptions. Authors may elect to have illustrations printed in colour but this will incur a charge of US$400 for the first four figures and US$75 for each additional figure. Authors must ensure that their figures conform to the style of the journal. All figures should be prepared to fit 120 mm (column width) by up to 150 mm in length (full page). Pay particular attention to line thickness, font and figure proportions. For digital photographs or scanned images, the resolution should be at least 300 dpi for colour or greyscale artwork and a minimum of 600 dpi for black line drawings. Photographs or scans can be saved in PSD, JPEG, PDF or EPS format. Graphs, charts or maps can be saved in AI, PDF or EPS format. MS Office files (Word, Powerpoint, Excel) are also acceptable but DO NOT EMBED Excel graphs or Powerpoint slides in a MSWord document, rather send the original Excel or Powerpoint files.

Statement on ethics - Authors are required to adhere to the African Journal of Herpetology statement on ethics. This can be found on the Herpetological Association of Africa website (

DNA Sequence Registration - Authors must deposit sequences referred to in African Journal of Herpetology in EMBL or GenBank Nucleotide Sequence Databases. Sequence accession numbers should be included in submitted manuscripts.

New Zoological Taxa - If your paper introduces new zoological taxa at family-group level or below you will be prompted to register your paper with ZooBank at proof stage in order to validate electronic publication of these taxa. You will also need to register the individual new taxa. After publication, you should amend the ZooBank record of your paper to reflect the date of publication. Consult the video guides on the ZooBank website for help with registering the new taxon and the paper.

Taxonomic Authorities - For articles on taxonomic and phylogenetic matters include the relevant taxonomic authority and date, e.g. Pyxicephalus adspersus (Tschudi, 1838). When possible, this information should appear in the title, abstract and introduction (at first mention only) so as to facilitate discovery, and the bibliographic details of the original published description included in the reference list.


This journal uses the Electronic Copyright System ECS and emails with the link to confirm the authors copyright requirements will be sent separately when their article enters production. It is a condition of publication that authors assign copyright or license the publication rights in their articles, including abstracts, to the Herpetological Association of Africa. This enables us to ensure full copyright protection and to disseminate the article, and of course the Journal, to the widest possible readership in print and electronic formats as appropriate. Authors retain many rights under the Taylor & Francis rights policies, which can be found at Authors are themselves responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce copyright material taken from other sources.

Article e-prints

Authors will receive 50 complimentary e-prints of their published article to distribute to their colleagues and promote their work.

Publication Charges

There are no submission fees, publication fees or page charges for this journal.

Open Access

You have the option to publish Open Access in this journal, which means that your article will be free to access online immediately on publication, increasing the visibility, readership and impact of your research. Articles published Open Select with Taylor & Francis typically receive 32% more citations* and over 6 times as many downloads** compared to those that are not published Open Select.

Your research funder or your institution may require you to publish your article open access. Visit the Taylor & Francis Author Services website ( to find out more about Open Access policies and how you can comply with these.

You will be asked to pay an article publishing charge (APC) to make your article Open Access and this cost can often be covered by your institution or funder. Use the APC finder ( to view the APC for this journal.

Corresponding authors from sub-Saharan Africa may qualify for a discounted regional Open Access rate. Please contact to find out if you are eligible. More information on Open Access for authors based in Africa can be found at
*Citations received up to Jan 31st 2020 for articles published in 2015-2019 in journals listed in Web of Science.
**Usage in 2017-2019 for articles published in 2015-2019.



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