Cover image for Vol. 120 Issue 5

Edited By: Jutta Schneider and Susan A. Foster (Editors-in-Chief)

Impact Factor: 1.947

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2012: 32/49 (Behavioral Sciences); 32/151 (Zoology)

Online ISSN: 1439-0310

Author Guidelines

Downloads: Colour Work Agreement form; Checklist of Methods Description

Are you a graduate student and would like to receive additional advice on your paper? Identify yourself as a student during the submission process and the editors of Ethology will give you extra feedback on your paper. This will have no influence on the outcome of the review process.

Perspectives and Current Debates
In the spirit of academic democracy, Ethology invites contributions to the sections Perspectives and Current Debates. In these sections the editors hope to advance the field through stimulating discussion, clear thinking and logical arguments.

The Perspectives section includes articles whose aim is to look backward by surveying an ethological topic, theme, concept, or phenomenon, including a critical overview of its major milestones, clear impacts on related fields, and the potential for changing future avenues in the course of the study of behavioral biology. Colleagues are welcome to submit unsolicited contributions directly to the editorial office, including high quality and generally accessible formal topical reviews from keynote lectures, round table discussions, symposia, and introductory thesis chapters. Alternatively, authors are welcome to discuss their ideas for this format with the Perspectives and Current Debates Editor prior to submission.

The Current Debates section embraces the argumentative nature and skills of behavioral biologists and aims to push the field forward by inviting opposing, controversial viewpoints and counterintuitive but testable arguments. This forum provides room for positive and constructive exchange of ideas about theoretical, conceptual, methodological, quantitative-statistical, or technological advances and shortcomings that may or may not have contributed to perceived or real advances in behavioral biology. Potential authors are asked to nominate and discuss a theme with the Perspective and Debates Editor, including nominating a colleague to generate a reaction piece. Following an exchange of manuscript drafts and external referee comments, these debates will then be published together.

Audio/visual material
Authors are encouraged to submit audio and/or visual materials such as animal calls, photographs or videos as supplementary material which will be made available to users in the online version of the article. Please consult the Wiley Blackwell homepage for acceptable file formats.

1. General
Ethology contains articles by scientists from all over the world. It welcomes original contributions from all branches of behavioural research on all species of animals, both in the field and in the laboratory, as well as theoretical investigations. Authors are requested to explain the theoretical framework of their contribution and the general importance of their findings. Perspectives and reviews on current issues, and short essays on controversial topics are especially encouraged.

Pre-submission English-language editing
Authors for whom English is a second language may choose to have their manuscript professionally edited before submission to improve the English. A list of independent suppliers of editing services can be found here. All services are paid for and arranged by the author, and use of one of these services does not guarantee acceptance or preference for publication.

2. Submission and Acceptance of Manuscripts
Ethology manuscripts should be submitted electronically via the online submission site ScholarOne Manuscripts (formerly known as Manuscript Central). The use of an online submission and peer review site speeds up the decision-making process, enables immediate distribution and allows authors to track the status of their own manuscripts. To access this system for submission and review, please go directly to ScholarOne Manuscripts. Instructions for submitting your manuscript are provided on this site. If you encounter technical problems when submitting your manuscript, please contact Ethology ScholarOne Manuscripts Support via email: or phone: (434) 817-2040 ext.167 USA.

When you submit your manuscript to Ethology, you will need to confirm the following statements:

  • I/We adhere to the ‘Guidelines for the use of animals in research’ as published in Animal Behaviour (1991, 41, 183–186) and the laws of the country where the research was conducted.
  • The manuscript contains only material that is either original and has not been published or submitted elsewhere, or stems from publications identified by a reference.
  • All authors have seen the final manuscript and take responsibility for its contents.

The acceptance or rejection of manuscripts for publication in Ethology is decided by the editors, usually in cooperation with two referees. Any manuscript returned by an editor to the corresponding author for revision will be considered as withdrawn if not resubmitted within a period of three months.

Authors may suggest names and addresses of potential reviewers that have not been involved in the research project or in the preparation of the manuscript. A cover letter with additional information may accompany the manuscript, but this is not mandatory.

Dates of first receipt, initial and final acceptance will be printed in the published paper.

3. Requirements for Manuscripts
3.1 Content

Ethology encourages public access to the data sets behind the articles, including archiving in data repositories.

The Abstract should introduce the topic, the main objective, the main result(s) and the principle conclusion(s). The Introduction should explain the main questions addressed in the paper. Continuity with earlier work on the subject should be established by reference to recent papers or reviews, which need not themselves be summarized. Experimental methods must be clearly described and include information essential for replication, but trivial details should be omitted. In the Discussion, the major findings should be summarized as a reminder only, not repeated.

To avoid unnecessary delays in the evaluation process of your manuscript, please consult the checklist of methods description.

3.2 Format
Initial submission
As a rule the manuscript should be arranged as follows: Title page, Abstract (max. 300 words), Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions (optional), Acknowledgements, Literature Cited. If necessary, these sections may be structured using further subtitles. When different methods apply to different subsections (e.g. describing stand-alone experiments) the Methods and Results for that specific section can be combined. Manuscript layout must have double-line spacing, a left-hand margin of at least 2.5 cm and line numbers throughout the text (use continuous line numbers, if possible). Pages should be numbered from the title page to the figure legends inclusive. Each figure and table should be placed on a separate page.

Both English and American spelling is permissible, but spelling should be used consistently throughout the manuscript.

The first page of the manuscript must contain the following information: title; first name and further initials and surname(s) of the author(s); name and full institutional address of each author (including an E-mail address if available) – if there are multiple authors add ‘(corresponding author)’ after the appropriate name; running title (should not exceed 72 characters, including spaces); the total number of words in the text including the title, references and figure legends.

Final submission
After final acceptance the original manuscript text, tables and files of all figures should be uploaded to the ScholarOne Manuscripts Author centre. We ask that you convey the essential information of each figure and table within the first 60 characters of the captions to accommodate the online edition. Each figure, table, and bibliographic entry must have a reference in the text.

Please do not import the figures into the text file. Tables should be supplied as text and not as graphics files. The text should be prepared using standard word processors (Microsoft Word) or saved in rich-text (rtf) format. Please note that we are unable to accept files created in PDF or WordPerfect format. Do not use automated or manual hyphenation.

For further information, please consult this link.

3.3 Length
Papers, including figures, tables, and literature cited, should be succinct, generally between 5 and 12 printed pages which corresponds to approximately 5000 words.

3.4 Units, Abbreviations and Nomenclature
All units of measurement must conform to the SI-System. Days = d, hours = h, minutes = min, seconds = s, grams = g, litres = l, metres = m, sample size = n, median =(‘x tilde’) or median, arithmetic mean =(‘x bar’), degrees of freedom = df, standard error of the mean = SE, standard deviation = SD, probability = p, not significant = ns, year(s) = yr, month(s) = mo, figure = Fig., table = Table, versus = vs, species = sp.

Names of genera and species must be in italics or be underlined with a single line in the manuscript. In the published paper they will appear as italics. All biological names should conform to current international nomenclature. For undefined species use ‘sp.’ Chemical formulae should be written as fully as possible using the nomenclature of the Chemical Society (J. Chem. Soc. 1067, 1936).

3.5 Illustrations and Tables
At final submission, figures should be saved in a neutral data format such as TIFF or EPS. Powerpoint and Word graphics are unsuitable for reproduction. Please do not use any pixel-oriented programmes. Scanned figures (only in TIFF format) should have a resolution of 300 dpi (halftone) or 600–1200 dpi (line drawings) in relation to the reproduction size. Line drawings should only be contour drawings without halftones (shades of grey). Please do not use patterns; rough hatching is acceptable. For more information, please click this link.

Colour. In the event that an author is not able to cover the costs of reproducing colour figures in colour in the printed version of the journal, Ethology offers authors the opportunity to reproduce colour figures in colour for free in the online version of the article (but they will still appear in black and white in the print version). If an author wishes to take advantage of this free colour-on-the-web service, they should liaise with the Editorial Office to ensure that the appropriate documentation is completed for the Publisher. Authors using colour in the print issue will be charged and should complete a form which can be downloaded here. Details of charges are given on the form. If you are unable to download the form, please contact the Production Editor at They will be able to email or fax a form to you. Once completed, please post or courier all pages of your completed form to:

Customer Services (OPI)
John Wiley & Sons Ltd, European Distribution Centre
New Era Estate
Oldlands Way
Bognor Regis
West Sussex
PO22 9NQ

Please note that electronic or faxed copies cannot be accepted. Any article received by Wiley Blackwell with colour work will not be published until the form has been returned.

Please note that figures will generally be reduced to fit within the column-width or the print area. This means that numbering and lettering must still be readable when reduced (e.g. maps) and that a scale provided in the legend might not correspond with the original (microscopic pictures). If a figure is to be cropped, please mark the lines on a photocopy or tracing paper.

Graphs with x and y axes should not be enclosed in frames. Do not forget the labels and units. Captions for the figures should give a precise description of the content and should not be repeated within the figure.

Tables should be created using the table function of your word processor. The use of both tables and figures to illustrate the same results is not acceptable.

3.6 References
References in Articles
We recommend the use of a tool such as EndNote or Reference Manager for reference management and formatting.
EndNote reference styles can be searched for here.
Reference Manager reference styles can be searched for here.

The list of references must include all references cited in the text and no additional references. References are to be arranged alphabetically and in chronological order. The name of the cited journal should be abbreviated according to the abbreviation used by the journal concerned. Otherwise use the abbreviations contained in the ‘Bibliographic Guide for Editors and Authors’ from Chemical Abstracts, or the ‘World List of Scientific Periodicals’, 4th ed., London 1963–65. Anonymous contributions should be placed at the beginning of the list of references.

References should be formatted as in the following examples:

Greenfield, M. D. & Rand, A. S. 2000: Frogs have rules: selective attention algorithms regulate chorusing in Physalaius pustulosus (Leptodactylidae). Ethology 106, 331–347.

Zar, J. H. 1996: Biostatisitcal Analysis, 3rd edn. Prentice Hall, Engelwood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Johnstone, R. A. 1997: The Evolution of Animal Signals. In: Behavioural Ecology, 4th edn (Krebs, J.R. & Davies, N. B., eds). Blackwell Science, Oxford, pp. 155–178.

Schütz, D. 1998: Sexual size dimorphism in a shell-brooding cichlid Lamprologus callipterus. Ph.D. Thesis, Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität, Munich, Germany.

Articles not yet published may only be cited if their place of publication is certain. They must be denoted by the expression ‘in press’. Otherwise, unpublished manuscripts should be referred to in the text as ‘author name(s), pers. comm.’; or ‘own data’.

Reference to the quoted literature in the text should be given as follows: Smith (1998) or (Smith 1998). Only the first author should be cited followed by ‘et al.’ when there are more than two authors (Smith et al. 1999). Multiple references to the same author and year should be labelled a, b, etc. according to the order in which they are first cited in the text. Series of references should be in chronological order (Smith 1997a, b; Miller & Smith 2001). Literal quotations should be between quotes ‘‘...’’ and must contain the page number(s) of the original reference.

3.7 Supporting Information
Supporting Information can be a useful way for an author to include important but ancillary information with the online version of an article. Examples of Supporting Information include additional tables, data sets, figures, movie files, audio clips, 3D structures, and other related nonessential multimedia files. Supporting Information should be cited within the article text, and a descriptive legend should be included. It is published as supplied by the author, and a proof is not made available prior to publication; for these reasons, authors should provide any Supporting Information in the desired final format.

For further information on recommended file types and requirements for submission, please visit this link.

4. Author Services
Online production tracking is now available for your article through Wiley Blackwell’s Author Services.
Author Services enables authors to track their article – once it has been accepted – through the production process to publication online and in print. Authors can check the status of their articles online and choose to receive automated e-mails at key stages of production. The author will receive an e-mail with a unique link that enables them to register and have their article automatically added to the system. Please ensure that a complete e-mail address is provided when submitting the manuscript. Visit this link for more details on online production tracking and for a wealth of resources including FAQs and tips on article preparation, submission and more.

5. OnlineOpen
OnlineOpen is available to authors of primary research articles who wish to make their article available to non-subscribers on publication, or whose funding agency requires grantees to archive the final version of their article. With OnlineOpen the author, the author's funding agency, or the author's institution pays a fee to ensure that the article is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as deposited in the funding agency's preferred archive. For the full list of terms and conditions, please click this link.

Prior to acceptance there is no requirement to inform an Editorial Office that you intend to publish your paper OnlineOpen if you do not wish to. All OnlineOpen articles are treated in the same way as any other article. They go through the journal's standard peer-review process and will be accepted or rejected based on their own merit.

6. CC-BY for all OnlineOpen authors

If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Author Services; where via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS) they will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper.

For authors signing the Copyright Transfer Agreement

If the OnlineOpen option is not selected the corresponding author will be presented with the copyright transfer agreement (CTA) to sign. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs below:

CTA Terms and Conditions

For authors choosing OnlineOpen

If the OnlineOpen option is selected the corresponding author will have a choice of the following Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA):

Creative Commons Attribution License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial -NoDerivs License OAA

To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services and visit

If you select the OnlineOpen option and your research is funded by The Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) you will be given the opportunity to publish your article under a CC-BY license supporting you in complying with Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy please visit:

7. NIH Grantees
Note to NIH Grantees

Pursuant to NIH mandate, Wiley Blackwell will post the accepted version of contributions authored by NIH grant-holders to PubMed Central upon acceptance. This accepted version will be made publicly available 12 months after publication. For further information, please visit this link.

8. Proof Correction
You will receive proofs of your article without the original manuscript (if no amendments have been made). Proofs should be corrected and returned at once. Please be sure that you can be reached during this time. Please note that only typesetting errors are to be corrected.

Proofs will be sent via e-mail as an Acrobat PDF (portable document format) file. Acrobat Reader will be required in order to read this file. This software can be downloaded here (free of charge). Further instructions will be sent with the proof. In your absence, please arrange for a colleague to access your e-mail to retrieve the proofs.

9. Early View
Ethology is now part of the Wiley Blackwell's Early View service. Articles are published on a regular basis online in advance of their appearance in a print issue. These articles are fully peer reviewed, edited and complete - they only lack page numbers and volume/issue details - and are considered fully published from the date they first appear online. This date is shown with the article in the online table of contents. Because Early View articles are considered fully complete, please bear in mind that changes cannot be made to an article after the online publication date, even if it is still to appear in print.

The articles are available as full text HTML or PDF and can be cited as references by using their Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number. For more information on DOIs, please visit this link.

Early View is a premium service, and as such is automatically available to those with a premium subscription to Wiley Online Library. Authorised users of Wiley Online Library are individuals who either have paid for an online subscription to a journal on Wiley Online Library, or authorised for online access under the terms of their institution's subscription or licence with Wiley Blackwell. Members of the public may access the open parts of this site in accordance with the Terms and Conditions. Upon registration, single articles are available to purchase on an invidual basis. Subscribers to Wiley Online Library are enabled to do the following: access the full-text articles for subscribed-to journals, often in both PDF and HTML format; link to the abstracts of cited articles in other journals using the CrossRef and database links; link forward to articles that cite this article and access Early View articles, where available.

To view all the Early View articles currently available, please click this link and simply click on the 'Early View' tab in the navigation area.

As print publication approaches, the article will be removed from the Early View area and will appear instead in the relevant online issue, complete with page numbers and volume/issue details. No other changes will be made.

10. Offprints

Free access to the final PDF offprint or your article will be available via Author Services only. Please therefore sign up for Author Services if you would like to access your article PDF offprint and enjoy the many other benefits the service offers. Additional paper offprints may be ordered online. Please click on the following link for more details: If you have queries about offprints please email

Last update: February 2014