Over the years I’ve managed to learn a little bit about some of the animals and insects that I regularly see when I go hiking around Victoria, but this can be tricky. I tend to take photos of things and then research them when I get home since I don’t particularly like the idea of carrying around books to help me identify things on the trail. I’ve recently discovered an iPhone application (also compatible with iPad and iPod Touch) that makes this a whole lot easier for me. Museum Victoria’s Field Guide to Victorian Fauna was released in 2010, but I’ve only just stumbled across it. I’m very glad that I did.

The guide lists over 700 species. This is obviously nowhere near being a complete record, but Museum Victoria is adding to it and releasing updates over time. So far, I haven’t come across any species that isn’t listed.

I find it extremely easy to use, as it enables you to search species by keywords, browse them by group (eg. Birds, butterflies, fishes, etc.), or alphabetically by name. All lists are accompanied by thumbnail images, which makes scanning through them even easier.

Once you find the species you’re looking for, the entry for each species provides photos, a map of the state-wide distribution, and all manner of other details, from identifying characteristics to diet, habitat and scarcity information.

If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch (it’s probably not so practical to carry an iPad) and are interested in learning more about the creatures you see when you’re out for a hike, I’d definitely recommend you check it out.

Update: Andrew Bishop has pointed out (in the comments, below) that the application takes up around 260mb on your phone. This is definitely worth knowing before you download it (if you’re struggling for space). Thanks, Andrew!

Have you used the app? What do you think? If you have anything to say, please leave a comment below.