Shanny ©Linda Pitkin/2020VISION


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Scientific name: Lipophrys pholis
The shanny is a common sight in rockpools all around the UK. They are feisty little fish and have been known to bite when caught, so watch your fingers!

Top facts


Length: up to 15cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The shanny is a kind of blenny and is also known by the name common blenny, depending on where in the UK you live. It is a small, elongated fish with a large head and big eyes. It is common in rockpools and shallow waters, but it pretty shy and normally hides under stones or seaweed. They are quite hard to spot when they are lying still as their mottled colouration provides excellent camouflage. They will eat whatever they can find, from seaweed to barnacles and shrimps. The shanny is sometimes known as the Sea Frog! They are able to survive out of water at low tide and, if disturbed, will leap back into the water - much like a frog does.

What to look for

Variable in colour, normally brown or beige with darker blotches. Males are almost black during the breeding season (April-August). They can be distinguished from the larger Tompot Blenny as they have no tentacles on their heads.

Where to find

Found all around UK coasts.

Did you know?

It is the male shanny that guards the eggs! Once the female has laid the precious eggs, the father will guard them for over a month against hungry predators. During breeding and nesting, the male shanny's colouration darkens to almost black except for his lips which change to bright white.