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California Reptiles by Thomas Benner (iOS App)

California Reptiles (iOS app)













  • access to online content


  • many inaccuracies
  • requires internet connection
  • inconsistent and incorrect taxonomies

“A full-featured field guide app to the reptiles of California for only $3.99? It sounds too good to be true… unfortunately, it is not. This app relies on Internet content and falls far short of its goal.

Upon opening the app, a user is presented with a bizarre subdivision of the herps of the region, including “Desert Lizards,” “Colubrid Snakes,” “Turtles,” “Legless Lizards,” etc. Some of these categories correspond to taxonomic groups and others do not. The thumbnail images are auto-cropped or poorly cropped, resulting in images that often have the head and key body parts chopped off. When a user navigates to a species, there are options for Details, Photos, and Videos; however, these tabs lead to online content from Wikipedia, Google images, Youtube videos, etc. Thus, the app is really an interface to existing online content that requires Internet connectivity, limiting the portability and usefulness of the app. And species that occur within California that do not have convenient online content lack details (e.g., Sharp-tailed Snake) or cannot be reached from the home page at all (e.g., Switak’s Banded Gecko).

The app attempts to provide the abundance of species, but is often inaccurate. For example, the Prairie Rattlesnake is included and described as rare despite the fact that this species does not occur within the state. Likewise, alligators are shown as very rare. Also, the taxonomy used in the app is not consistent with current or recently accepted conventions beyond what Wikipedia and other online sources provide, leading to inconsistencies.

This attempt at incorporating online content into a smart phone app may be a sign of things to come, but this app does a poor job of providing a usable reptile app.”

Review of the California Reptiles (iOS app)
Dec 15, 2016
FGR Team (

Publisher’s Description:

Identify reptiles more quickly than ever! California Reptiles shows you which reptiles are most common in California, preventing you from having to scroll or flip through dozens of reptiles that aren’t relevant to where you are. The reptiles are organized by category and ordered by how common they are at your location. It’s like a location-based field guide.

For example, if you see a mysterious snake, you can click on one of the snake categories to see a list of all of the snakes that have been seen at your location, ordered by how often they’re seen. You’ll quickly identify that pesky snake. You can also search for terms like “kingsnake” to see a more targeted list.

Each reptile has dozens of photos and videos, as well as information about appearance, habitat, behavior, taxonomy and more, via Wikipedia. California Reptiles includes all species and types of reptiles, including lizards, snakes, turtles, tortoises, alligators, crocodiles, and more.

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