If you’re one of the 10 million people who got a shiny new iPhone 6 this weekend, or just happen to have a shiny slab of computing power that fits in your pocket, you should really take advantage of it by exploring a few applications to make you smarter about reef fish. While there are few apps that are made for aquarium fish, there’s a plethora of iOS apps for naturalists and divers that do a better job of educating about the species we care about, handily categorized based on where they come from in the world.
We’ve been enjoying the following five apps on our iDevices for many years now and while we’ve covered some of them individually before, this seems like a good week to give you a rundown of our go-to iPhone applications for identifying and learning more about reef fish from all over the world. Oh and if you’re an Android addict, many of these apps are also available on the Google App store and easily found with a cursory search.
Reef Fish Hawaii ($4.99)
Reef Fish Hawaii is a simple go-to application for learning about all the different fishes of hawaii, but being targeted at divers and snorkelers you see any mention of the deepwater fishes like Odontanthias fuscipinnis or Prognathodes basabei which we all adore so much. However, since these are Hawaiian fish we’re talking about this app does include the handy Hawaiian names of these fishes should you want to try to impress the local fish enthusiasts. But everyone know humuhumunukunukuapua’a so try something else.
At eight bucks for a download, the Marine Fishes ID app is not cheap but having been created and illustrated with photographs by the late great Neville Coleman, this is one slice of software which doesn’t slouch. Mr. Coleman was one of the greats of underwater photography and it shows in this application with original photos of the Ballina angelfish and if you remember that blowing blue-faced koran angelfish that Cairns Marine caught earlier this year, well there’s a perfect picture of one in this great reference guide.
Marine Fish ID: Maldives ($7.99)
The Maldives ID guid application brings the same level of sophistication and great imagery as the Great Barrier Reef version mentioned above. In this guide you’ll find unique Indian Ocean fishes that are seldom seen in the aquarium hobby such as Liopropopoma africanum and Tyler’s sharpnose puffer, Canthigaster tyleri. There’s plenty more Maldivian and Indian Ocean gems to be found in this app, and totally worth the cost of a single microbrewed beer.
Greater Caribbean Fishes (free)
For Caribbean fish identification and ecological information, you can’t do any better than the Smithsonian’s Greater Caribbean Fishes application. It’s free and we’ve featured it on its own before so check it out.
Fishes: East Pacific (free)
The same thing goes for Fishes: Greater Caribbean – an impeccable app which is incredibly thorough and at the low, low price of free, you just can’t go wrong.
Red Sea ($1.99)
The final app to round out our geographic spread of reef fish identification applications is one that covers the Red Sea. It’s a pretty basic application covering all the common fishes you’d expect to find in or from the Red Sea. It’s only two bucks but when paired with the five apps above, it ensures that you’ll have some information from fishes from just about every major eco-region in the world.