International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature

Instructions for Authors


Focus and Scope of the Journal

The Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature (BZN) accepts three types of submissions for publication:

Applications (or Cases). These are requests to the Commission to set aside or modify the Code’s provisions as they relate to a particular name or group of names, in the interest of nomenclatural stability. Once an application is accepted by the BZN, it is given a Case number and referred to as a Case. Authors submitting Cases should regard themselves as acting on behalf of the zoological community, and the Commission will treat applications on this basis. Applicants should discuss their Cases with other workers in the field before submitting applications, so they are aware of any wider implications and the likely reactions of other zoologists. Cases must contain proposals detailing the ruling(s) to be made by the Commission to best resolve the issue(s) raised.

Comments on Cases. These are submissions that discuss issues and/or proposals raised in published Cases. A Comment may contain additional proposals or a new set of a modified version of the proposals that the authors feel better resolve the issue(s) raised in the original Case, or a may include a new set of proposals.

Nomenclatural Notes. These are submissions that discuss specific nomenclatural problems that can be resolved without the involvement of the Commission but due to their consequences are considered of interest to the taxonomic community.

The following formatting instructions apply to new submissions to the BZN; manuscripts not prepared under these guidelines may be returned.


All manuscripts should be submitted electronically by email (within the message or as an attachment) to iczn (at)

Authors should provide a separate list of links to referenced literature dealing with nomenclatural acts critical to the Case (e.g., original descriptions, type fixations, synonymies, dating evidence, etc.) where available online. If access is restricted by a paywall, PDF files of relevant pages are accepted.

Page Charges

There are no page charges for publishing in the BZN.

Manuscript Formatting

Language. The BZN will publish submissions written in British or American English (either orthography is acceptable as long as it is used throughout). To prevent delays, authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts that are concisely written and formatted according to the guidelines listed below. The corresponding author should make sure before submission of the manuscript that the text is free of linguistic weaknesses. Manuscripts requiring extensive editing for English grammar and spelling will be returned to the corresponding author for rectification.

Title. The title of a submission is informative and concise. The title contains the original combination, current combination (if different from the original), taxonomic classification of the taxon/taxa concerned and a brief statement of the aim of the application. Authors are encouraged to study recently published BZN content and apply key terms or phrases in the title appropriate to submission.

Authors and addresses. For standardisation and accurate citation, authors are requested to spell their names in the following order: First (given) name(s), last (surname / family) name. Addresses for all authors include institutional affiliations (if any), street address, city, state/province, postcode, and country. Email addresses are required, at least for the corresponding author. If a paper is multi-authored and only one person requests to be contacted by readers, that name is denoted with an asterisk (*) and footnoted that s/he is the corresponding author.

Abstract. All applications and nomenclatural notes submitted to the BZN must include an abstract, which states the purpose of the application, briefly explains the nomenclatural problem, references the relevant Article(s) of the Code, and provides brief information on the taxon concerned including its common name (if one exists) and importance. The last sentence of the abstract contains a brief statement of the nomenclatural action proposed. Comments on Cases have no abstract.

Keywords. Nomenclature; taxonomy; [class]; [order]; [family-group name(s) (in small capitals, with first letter capitalised)]; [genus-group name(s) (in italics)]; [specific name(s) (in italics)]; [vernacular name(s)]; [geographical region(s)]; [geological horizon (for fossils)].

All keywords are separated by semicolons.

Comments on Cases have no keywords.

Structure of Cases

All applications contain an abstract, keywords, and numbered paragraphs, the last of which contains the formal proposals to the Commission.

The proposals are numbered (viz., “(1)”, “(2)”, etc.) and similar sub-proposals can be grouped and ordered (viz., “(a)”, “(b)”, etc.). Please do NOT use automatic numbering or lettering.

The information presented in each of the numbered paragraphs follows the approximate chronological history of each name (or nomenclatural issue). Justifications are given in the numbered paragraphs immediately before the proposals. The proposal(s) to the Commission requesting specific action shall constitute the final numbered paragraph.

If the plenary power of the Commission is sought, this necessity must be explained, with reference to the relevant Article(s) of the Code.

The authors should state possible alternative solutions and explain why these are not desired or acceptable.

All names that have a direct bearing on the application must be referred to in their original combination with the author and year of publication. The original description (and page reference) must be given in the text and the publication cited in the reference section.

For all generic, specific or family-group name(s) to be conserved or suppressed, provide author, date and page number of the publication that made this/these name(s) available. For any nominal species-group name to be conserved, its name-bearing type should be given with a note on the most recent authoritative revision or identification. Please double-check the authorship and date of the names, using the original sources where possible. Consult ‘Index Animalium’ and ‘Nomenclator Zoologicus’ where possible.

Similarly, the page references must be provided for citations of synonymies relevant to the Case, subsequent spelling, First Reviser actions, etc.

The type species of any genus-group name to be conserved (or to enter into reversed precedence) and the type species for the type genus of any family-group name to be conserved (or to enter into reversed precedence) must be given. For the type species, its designation (i.e., by monotypy, by original designation, or by subsequent designation) must be given with the author, date and page number. For subsequent designations, a citation to the work (book or journal, volume number, etc.) should also be given.

When the Commission’s ruling is sought based on prevailing usage, the applicants are recommended to provide as many references as possible in the form of a separate reference list. That list is held with the Secretariat, which is available for examination upon request to the Secretary of the ICZN. The Case summarizes details of the list by giving the number and the dates of the oldest and most recently published of these references.

The list of references is formatted following the guidelines below.

Any references to particular specimens must be accompanied by institutional accession number, catalogue entry number, database number, or similar, as appropriate.

In Cases dealing with new type designations, give references for any significant designations (lectotype, neotype, type species, etc.), including page.

When a ruling on neotype designation is requested, detailed information of the specimen proposed as a neotype must be provided. The qualifying conditions (Art. 75.3) must be met. Authors are strongly encouraged to include images of the proposed neotype specimen.

The final paragraph of formal proposals is organized as follows:

(i) The formal proposal of a ruling beginning with the words: “The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature is accordingly asked” followed by the statement of the ruling proposed.

(ii) List names to be placed on the Official Lists of Generic, Specific or Family-Group Names in Zoology (for generic names give gender, type species and the method of the type species designation).

(iii) List names to be placed on the Official Indexes of Rejected and Invalid Generic, Specific or Family-Group Names in Zoology.

(iv) List works to be placed on the Official List of Works in Zoology.

(v) List works to be placed on the Official Indexes of Rejected and Invalid Works in Zoology.

Text Formatting

Font formatting of names. The italicisation of scientific names throughout manuscript is mandatory. Foreign words, publication titles, and other words that are conventionally italicised to distinguish them from the main text (e.g., the names of ships or research vessels) are also italicised. Family-group names should be converted to small capitals, with first letter capitalised. In Microsoft Word, this can be done by going to the Font dialog box, looking under Effects, and selecting “Small caps” check box.

Author date citation for taxa. When citing a taxon, the author is cited at the first instance inside the main text body (setting aside title and abstract) and can be omitted in subsequent appearances. If citing the author and date of a taxon, the author and date are separated by a comma (e.g., “Ba Solem, 1983”, “Ketupa ketupu (Horsfield, 1821)”).

Dates and time. Dates are spelled in full throughout the manuscript with the day preceding the month and year (e.g., “5 July 2014”). Time is given in 24-hour format (e.g., “2300 hrs” for 11:00 pm).

Numbers. All numbers less than 10 are spelled in full in the main text (except in the results section and tables). Ranges of values (including page and plate numbers) are separated by an En dash (“–”). Numbers exceeding 999 have a comma as a separator (e.g., “1,000”). A period (not a comma) is used to indicate the decimal point (e.g., “24.35 mm”).

Abbreviations. The abbreviations “pl.”/“fig.” and “pls.”/“figs.” can be used for “plate”/“figure” and “plates”/“figures”, respectively. "Article/s of the Code" should be spelled out in full in the Abstract and first mention in text (usually the first paragraph introducing the Case) but should be abbreviated to "Art." thereafter.

Citations. When citing a reference, the author(s) is (are) followed by a comma before the year (e.g., “Evenhuis, 1997”). When citing a publication by two authors, an ampersand is used (e.g., “Ng & Chou, 2008”), and when citing a publication with three or more authors, the notation “et al.” is used (e.g., “Purchon et al., 1960”). Pages, plates or figures cited in a publication are separated from the year by a colon (e.g., “Adams, 1848: 25, pl. 25, fig. 27”).

When referring to figures or table in the manuscript, the words “Table” and “Figure(s)” (as “Fig.” or “Figs.”) have the initial letter capitalised (e.g., “See Table 1, and Fig. 1A”).

Images and Tables

Images, figures, tables, and captions. Authors are encouraged to include photographs and tables regarding material discussed in the manuscript when it helps advance the application.

Image Preparation. Authors should include low-resolution (72 dpi) images as separate files at the time of submission. A PDF combining all images in order of appearance in the paper accompany the submission of text and tables. High-resolution files will only be requested after manuscripts are accepted, unless specifically requested as part of the review process. All images are prepared as TIFF files with a final resolution of least 300 dpi for colour or grayscale images and 600 dpi for black and white line art. Authors are advised to combine individual images into one or more larger composite figures of 180 mm in width and no more than 230 mm in height. When combined into one composite figure, individual images are labelled with small or capital letters.

Table preparation. Short tables that can fit onto one page or less are presented using the table function in a word processing application (as opposed to tab-delimited information). More complex tables are prepared in Microsoft Excel®.

Caption preparation. Captions for both figures and tables are self-explanatory and do not require any reference to the main text. Table and figure captions begin with “Figure 1.” or “Table 1.”. Captions to both figures and tables in submissions are listed on a new page at the end of the manuscript, after the references. For captions to composite figures, image numbers are separated by an en dash (e.g., “A–D”).

Figures and tables are submitted as separate files. When multiple Excel tables are submitted, they are combined as one file with each table indicated in a separate worksheet.


Authors are encouraged to format the references cited in the manuscript according to recent BZN format. This will help avoid delays in publication.

Italics are restricted to scientific names of genus-group and species-group names, the names of sailing vessels and the names of other publications being cited in the title of the reference. Journal titles are not italicised. Titles of all works are given verbatim and not shortened or abbreviated. English translations or transliterations placed in square brackets are given for all article and journal titles cited in a non-Roman alphabet (e.g., Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese symbols), or in languages rarely used in scientific literature (Albanian, Finnish, Quechua).

Words are only capitalised at the beginning of the title of an article or for proper nouns in the title (i.e., use so-called Sentence Case). The words of titles of books and journals in English often have initial capitalisation (so-called Title Case). The capitalisation of titles of books and journals in non-English languages follow accepted convention (e.g., only the first word of the title and proper nouns for French and Latin; all nouns in German). This can also apply to titles of periodically issued monographs ("Oxford Dictionary of English").

Page and plate ranges are separated by an en dash (e.g., “pp. 1–101”, “pls. 1–24”, “pls. A–D”).

Author names are to be written with the family name (surname) first, followed by the initial(s) (see examples below).

Names of editors of a book is followed by an “(Ed)” or “(Eds)”, and a comma (see examples below). For book chapters and papers that form a part of a larger work, the title of the chapter or part is followed by an “In:” before the title of the book or larger work (see examples below).

The publisher and place of publication are given for books. The current name of the place of publication should also be given in square brackets if it differs significantly from the name used in the work (e.g., “Hafniae [= Copenhagen]”).

The year of publication is placed in parentheses following the author(s). Where the year of imprint (as stated on the cover, title-, or contents pages) differs from the actual date of publication, the actual date of publication is given in parentheses after the author(s), and the date of imprint given in square brackets at the end as an annotation.

We strongly encourage authors to verify the dates of publication of references cited (especially those that contain new names or nomenclatural acts).

References are arranged alphabetically by first author (and in the case of more than one author, by second and subsequent authors).


The following are examples of references formatted according to BZN style.

Journal articles

Clark PF, Crosnier A (2000) The zoology of the Voyage au pôle sud et dans l’Océanie sur les corvettes l’Astrolabe et la Zélée exécuté par ordre du roi pendant les années 1837–1838–1839–1840 sous les commandement de M. Dumont-d’Urville (1842–1854): titles, volumes, plates, text, contents, proposed dates and anecdotal history of the publication. Archives of Natural History 27 (3): 407–435.

Frauenfeld G Ritter von (1862) Versuch einer Aufzählung der Arten der Gattung Bithynia Lch. und Nematura Bns. Nach der kaiserlichen und Cuming’s Sammlung. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 12 (3): 1145–1161.

Paramonov SJ (1936) [Biological enigma of the fly Lucilia sericata Mg.]. Priroda 1936 (11): 1–3. [In Russian.]

Sabrosky CW (1961) Rondani’s ‘Dipterologiae Italicae Prodromus’. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 54: 827–831.

Swennen C (1998) Two new gastropods, Elysia bangtawaensis and E. siamensis from southern Thailand. Bulletin Zoölogisch Museum, Universiteit van Amsterdam 16 (6): 33–39.

Tanaka T, Kawase M, Karasawa H (2008) [Fossils of Syphopatella walshi (Reeve) and the nomenclatural status of Syphopatella Lesson, 1831, Ergaea Adams and Reeve, 1854, and SiphopatellaTryon, 1886 (Gastropoda: Calyptraeidae)]. Bulletin of the Mizunami Fossil Museum 34: 117–119. [In Japanese.]

Smith B (1945) Observations on gastropod protoconchs. Palaeontographica Americana 3 (21): 220–268 [1–48], 3 pls.


Adams A, Reeve LA (1848–1850) Mollusca. In: Adams A (Ed), The zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Samarang; under the command of Captain Sir Edward Belcher, C.B., F.R.A.S., F.G.S., during the years 1843–1846. Reeve & Benham, London, x +87 + [ii] pp., 24 pls.

Coan EV, Kabat AR (2014) 2,400 years of malacology. Eleventh edition. American Malacological Society, 1128 [Main text] + 94 [Annex 1] + 65 [Annex 2] pp.

ICZN (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature) (1999) International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Fourth edition. International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, London, xxix + 306 pp.

Linnaeus C (1767) Systema naturae, per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum caracteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tom. I. Pars II. Editio duodecima reformata. L. Salvii, Holmiae [= Stockholm], pp. 533–1327 + [36].

Marschall AF de (1873) Nomenclator zoologicus continens nomina systematics generum animalium tam viventium quam fossilium, secundum ordinem alphabeticum disposita. C. Ueberreuter, Vindobonae [= Vienna], v + 482 pp.

Nevill G (1885) Hand list of Mollusca in the Indian Museum, Calcutta. Part II. Gastropoda. Prosobranchia-Neurobranchia (contd.). By Order of the Trustees [of the Indian Museum], Calcutta, x + 306 pp.

[Geoffroy EL] (1762) Histoire abrégée des insectes qui se trouvent aux environs de Paris; dans laquelle ces animaux sont rangés suivant un ordre méthodique. Tome premier. Durand, Paris, pp. [1–2] + j–xlviij [=1–28] + 1–523, pls. I–X [= 1–10].

[Röding PF] [1798] Museum Boltenianum sive catalogus cimeliorum e tribus regnis naturæ quæ olim collegerat Joa. Fried Bolten, M. D. p. d. per XL.annos proto physicus Hamburgensis. Pars secunda continens conchylia sive testacea univalvia, bivalvia & multivalvia. Trapp, Hamburg, pp. [1–3] + [1–8] + 1–199.

La Cepède BGE de (1798) Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome premier. Plassan, Paris, pp. [1–2] + j–cxlvij [= 1–147] + 1–532, pls. 1–25, 1 table.

Book chapters

Rye EC (1877) Diptera [pp. 468–479]. In: Rye EC (Ed), The zoological record for 1875; being volume twelfth of the record of zoological literature. Zoological Society, London.

Valdés Á, Fahey SJ (2006) Dorid nudibranchs described by J.E. Gray in M.E. Gray, 1842–1857 (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia) [pp. 95–102]. In: Brodie H, Fahey S, Wells FE (Eds), Contemporary studies into the systematics and evolution of opisthobranch molluscs. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 69, 140 pp.

Dissertations or Unpublished Reports

Bullington SW (1986) Two new genera related to Laphria Meigen (Diptera: Asilidae), with revisions of the included species in North America north of Mexico. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, 275 pp.


Pape T, Thompson FC (Eds) (2013) Systema Dipterorum. Biosystematic database of world Diptera. Version 1.5. Available at: [Last accessed on 25 January 2018.]

Review Process

Review and acceptance. If revision is necessary, the Secretary will return reviews and the edited manuscript(s) to the corresponding author. If the reviews indicate as such, the corresponding author will be asked to revise the manuscript in accordance with the comments of the reviewer(s) and/or Editor-in-Chief. The corresponding author must justify any decision(s) when they disagree with any of the comments of the reviewer(s) or editor. The corresponding author should return the revised manuscript as soon as possible and any additional image files (the latter if requested by the Editor-in-Chief). Upon receipt of the revised manuscript, the Editor-in-Chief will determine final acceptance or whether further revision is necessary. Once accepted, the files will be typeset and proofs will be sent to the corresponding author via e-mail in PDF format.


The corresponding author is asked to make the necessary changes directly in the PDF proofs. If authors have no access to programs that modify PDF files, changes may be listed in a separate document specifying page and line number. The corrections should be returned to the Secretary as quickly as possible.