Semiannual journal of the Virginia Natural History Society

Instructions for Authors

Banisteria accepts manuscripts that contribute to the public and scientific knowledge of the natural history of Virginia. This publication is intended to be an outlet for the kind of information that is useful but would not be accepted in the mainstream journals. Information found in field notebooks and files that never made it into scientific journals is especially important. Manuscripts derived from natural history observations, small-scale field projects, distribution surveys and reviews, species inventories, reports for contracted environmental projects, and unpublished theses are especially desired. The focus of Banisteria is classical and therefore slanted toward organismal biology. Biographies of naturalists influential in the field of Virginia's natural history are welcomed by the editor, who will also consider publishing obituaries of recently deceased Virginia naturalists. The journal also is suited for papers on the history of natural history as it pertains to Virginia.

To qualify for publication in Banisteria, a manuscript must pertain in some way to the flora, fauna, geology, geography, climatology or Native Americans of the Commonwealth. The editor may consider manuscripts on any aspect of natural history from neighboring states if the information concerns a species native to Virginia or the topic is directly related to regional natural history. Papers may be full length or shorter contributions (notes). The editor will be happy to assist authors during the preparation of their manuscripts, because he would rather help get natural history information published for others to use than to have it remain on the shelf or in someone's desk.

All manuscripts should be sent to the editor (, who will in turn seek two peer reviews. Manuscripts, including figures and tables, should be submitted electronically as email attachments. Microsoft Word format is preferred, but pdf format is also acceptable. If this is not possible, submit three copies of your manuscript printed on standard size paper (8.5 x 11") using double spacing throughout. Contact the editor before attempting to submit files larger than 10 MB. For non-electronic submissions, authors should retain both the original typescript and figures until final acceptance for publication. Photocopies are adequate for review purposes. Please do not attempt to produce "camera-ready copy." One of the associate editors will serve as the editor for any papers written by the editor.

All manuscripts, including Shorter Contributions and Historical Contributions, should be arranged in the following order: title, author's name, author's address, abstract, key words, text, acknowledgments, literature cited, tables, figure legends, figures. Long manuscripts should have standard sections (e.g., Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion), although some papers may not be amenable to such division, and short manuscripts (<4-6 pages) need not have these sections. All pages should be numbered, including tables. The title should be concise but informative. The title and the author's name and address should be centered at the top of the first page. Key words should not duplicate words that appear in the title. The text should begin on the first page beneath the abstract and key words. Use good judgment on arrangement of sections when other than the standard approach is necessary. Use only one blank space between sentences. Words should not be hyphenated. Use italics (or underlines) for species' scientific names.

As appropriate, authors should identify the nature of any required research or collecting permits and approvals (e.g., animal care and use guidelines), and the disposition of voucher specimens collected as part of their study.

Literature Citations: Use the following as a guide for proper format. Do not abbreviate journal names.

Journal article with 1 author:

Carr, L. G. 1965. Floristic elements in southwestern Virginia: a phytogeographical consideration. Castanea 30: 105-145.

Journal article with 2 authors:

Hoffman, R. L., & S. M. Roble. 2000. Fourteen ground beetles new to the Virginia fauna (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Banisteria 16: 36-40.

Journal article with 3+ authors:

Wagner, D. L., J. W. Peacock, J. L. Carter, & S. E. Talley. 1995. Spring caterpillar fauna of oak and blueberry in a Virginia deciduous forest. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 88: 416-426.

Book (capitalize title):

Mitchell, J. C. 1994. The Reptiles of Virginia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. 352 pp.
Chapter in a book:

Handley, C. O., Jr. 1979. Mammals of the Dismal Swamp: a historical account. Pp. 297-357 In P. W. Kirk (ed.), The Great Dismal Swamp. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.


The Nature Conservancy. 1975. The preservation of natural diversity: A survey and recommendations. Report to the U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC. 189 pp. (include report series and number if present).


Ostby, B. J. K. 2005. Characterization of suitable habitats for freshwater mussels in the Clinch River, Virginia and Tennessee. M. S. thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA. 203 pp.


Virginia Botanical Associates. 2016. Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora. c/o Virginia Botanical Associates, Blacksburg, VA. (Accessed 1 December 2016).

Tables: Each table should be appear on a separate page, using a font size of 10 or larger. A caption for each table should follow the number and must be on the same page as the table. Ruled, horizontal lines should be avoided except at the top and bottom of the table. Remember that each table must fit within a space of 6.5 x 8.5 inches, and that reduction may cause loss of detail.

Figures: Black and white line drawings are acceptable for publication. Electronic submissions are preferred (jpeg, tiff, etc.). Original figures should be more than twice the size of final production size, and if several are assembled as a plate, keep the ratio of height to width consistent with the rectangular shape of the page. If submitting originals, the back of each figure should be labeled with the author's name. Color figures will be considered for publication if the author is prepared to pay $75 per color page in the journal.

Photographs: Banisteria will accept high contrast black and white or color photographs. Electronic submissions are preferred (jpeg, tiff, etc.). If submitting originals, they should be at least 5x7 inches and mounted if possible. Remember that reduction to fit column or page width will cause some loss of detail. The back of each photo should be labeled with the author's name. Color photographs will be published only if the author is prepared to pay $75 per color page in the journal. Otherwise, photographs will be printed in grayscale, provided that the contrast is acceptable.

Abbreviations: The following common abbreviations are accepted in Banisteria: n (sample size), no. (number), SVL (snout-vent length; define on first usage), DBH (diameter at breast height), yr (years), mo (months), wk (weeks), h (hours), min (minutes), s (seconds), P (probability), df (degrees of freedom), SD and SE (standard deviation and standard error), ns (not significant), l (liter), g (gram), mm (millimeter), and C (degrees Celsius). Male and female symbols may also be used if appropriate. Do not abbreviate dates or undefined terms.

Reprints: Paper reprints are not provided. However, authors will be provided with a pdf copy of their article following publication to allow them or their institutions to prepare paper copies for personal use or exchange purposes. The Virginia Natural History Society website will post either abstracts or the full text (pdf format) of all recently published papers. Within two years after publication, the full text of all Banisteria papers will be available on the website as downloadable pdf files.

Page charges: Page charges are waived if the sole or first author is a member of the Virginia Natural History Society. Society members with grant funds are encouraged to contribute toward printing costs. Authors of manuscripts not meeting these criteria will be accessed page charges at a rate of $20 per printed page. All authors are responsible for the printing costs of color figures and photographs at a rate of $75 per color page.

Book reviews: Original reviews of new books relevant to Virginia or regional natural history should be submitted to the society's newsletter editor, Paul Marek, at


Virginia Natural History Society, Box 74, Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943
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