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The Seashore

Blenny or Shanny (Lipophrys pholis)

Blenny or Shanny (Lipophrys pholis)

The Common Blenny or Shanny is 5 - 10 cm long but under some conditions will grow almost twice this. The body is blunt at the head end, with large jaws. There is a series of blotchy marks along the body, differing shades of brown and green. There are no tentacles on the top of the head. The Tompot Blenny is similar but does have a pair of tentacles on the head. It also grows up to 25 cm. and is a much thicker set fish. They all have a continuous dorsal fin although the latter species has a slight dip in the middle.

The Blenny is the commonest fish likely to be found on the seashore. It is able to survive out of water for long periods (by retaining water in the gill cavity) and thus can be found to the middle shore even at low tide. They will hide under weed in rockpools or under large stones. The powerful jaws are for crushing barnacles (the main diet), crabs and any other suitable food available. Behind the main teeth there are a pair of tall, sharp canine teeth at the side. The male looks after the eggs and the young fry. To begin with he will not feed but later will consume anything within reach including, seaweed and even the Blenny's own eggs. After hatching, the young move to feed off-shore then when mature they move back.

Tompot Blenny (Parablennius gattorugine)

Tompot Blenny (Parablennius gattorugine)

Blenny species are often very abundant on the rocky seashore. The Tompot is found further down the shore than the Shanny as it has less adaptation to drying out. It is mainly in the lower shore and off shore. The Common Blenny is a cooler water species, from the Bay of Biscay north to Norway and Iceland. The Tompot is found throughout including the Mediterranean.

 


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