Common Blenny (Shanny)

Lipophrys pholis

What do they look like?

Also known as a shanny, the common blenny is a small yet long, smooth-bodied fish with large eyes positioned high up on a round head. It is dark brown and blotchy in colouration, sometimes with light mottling. From April to August, when they breed, males can look almost black. Common blennies possess one dorsal fin which runs the length of the back. However, this has a notch in the middle that can make it look like there are two. Unlike most blennies, the common blenny has no tentacles on its head. Adults may develop a ridge between their eyes.

Where can I see them in Scotland?

Abundant around all of Scotland’s coastline, it is a common species to find in rockpools or hiding under intertidal rocks and wet seaweed.

Fun Fact
Thanks to their slimy coating, common blennies can remain out of water for hours by retaining water within their gill cavities. However, they have a neat trick to return to a rockpool quickly should the need arise—they can jump! It’s no wonder they are sometimes known as Sea Frogs.

Up to 17cm
Up to 10 years
Average Lifespan
Conservation Status