The Common Blenny (Lipophys pholis) is a smooth-skinned blenny. It is the most widespread of all inshore fish. It can grow up to 15 cm in length and live up to 16 years of age. The Common Blenny (aka Shanny) inhabits sub-tidal and inter-tidal rocky habitats throughout the British Isles.

Common Blenny or Shanny

It's skin colour changes according to the environment it inhabits.

Identification[edit | edit source]

A small to medium-sized blenny, elongate small fish of a large family of fishes that live in rocky areas in shallow water. All true blennies have a continuous dorsal fin with the first dorsal fins are spiny and the remainder are soft. The pectoral finds are relatively large. The pelvic fin is in a jugular position.

Distinguished by the absence of tentacles/lappets over the eye. Usually green with black mottling, adults may be grey with black. Males in breeding livery go all black with a white mouth and an attractive pale blue fringe to the long dorsal fin.

If the small green blenny has blue spots and a lappet over the eye it is the similiar but rarer Coryphoblennius galerita.

Similar species

Parablennius gattorugine (Tompot Blenny).

The appearance of the eye tentacles are definitive.

Breeding[edit | edit source]

Spring, in very shallow water, sometimes intertidal.

Habitat[edit | edit source]

Rocky areas below low water mark, intertidal (mid-shore and below) spring to autumn*, under rocks, in crevices and rock pools, especially the juveniles. This fish habitually leaved oxygen-deficient pools and can be basking on rocks and completely out of the water at low tide. (* in the south-west this fish can be found on the shore during the winter).

Food[edit | edit source]

Small invertebrates including acorn barnacles.

Range[edit | edit source]

All British coasts. Not much further afield though. This is a true representative of the British fauna. The prevalence of this fish on north-eastern coasts and north Scotland is not known and any information , including absencxes, would be of interest.

Additional Notes[edit | edit source]

A common fish familiar to rockpoolers.

This fish should NOT be collected for live bait because of it lays a small number of eggs would be vulnerable to exploitation, because the large fish on the shore are breeding, with the males guarding the eggs and the females ovigerous. Furthermore, collection would spoil to enjoyment of a rocky shore for rockpoolers and other visitors. As a bait it is inferior to live prawn.

References[edit | edit source]

The Aquarium Project

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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