Shanny, the name of the marine spiny-rayed fishes of the blenny family, and the genus pholis (Flem.). They differ from the blen-nies proper in having the head without crests or tentacles; the body is elongated and compressed, with large pectorals, rounded caudal, ventrals under the throat and of two rays, and a single interrupted dorsal all along the back, simple and flexible.; the skin is naked; mouth small, with large lips and semicircular opening; teeth in single series, numerous, small, and pointed; there is no air bladder; the stomach is thin, without caecal dilatation, and the intestine simple without pancreatic caeca; aperture of oviduct between anus and urinary canal, and a tuft of papillae around the seminal opening. The European shanny (P. Ioevis, Flem.) is rarely more than 5 in. long; the colors vary much, some being mottled with reddish brown, black, and white, and others uniformly dusky; the head over the eyes is rounded, from these the profile being nearly vertical, and between them a deep groove; the irides are scarlet, and the cheeks tumid; the eyes have movements independent of each other.
They are abundant on the rocky coasts of England and France, keeping on the bottom, and hiding under stones at low tide to guard against voracious fishes and long-billed birds; the food consists of small mollusks and crustaceans; they spawn in summer; they are small, swim in shoals, and are of no value as food to man. The larger specimens have the habit of creeping out of water, by means of the ventrals, as the tide recedes, hiding in holes of the rocks, and there remaining until the tide again rises; they have been known to live 30 hours in a dry box, and are very soon killed by fresh water. It is a matter of considerable physiological interest to ascertain how this fish is enabled to live so long a time out of water; it has no air bladder or rudimentary lung for the aėration of the blood; it is not known to have any special arrangement of the gills or accessory sac for retaining water; the gill openings are very large, just the opposite from the case in the eels and other fishes which live long out of water, and would permit the gills to become very soon dry and improper to circulate the blood.
It must be remembered that the body is soft and scaleless; cutaneous respiration is very important in batrachians, and perhaps the necessary oxygenation of the blood is effected through the skin, as in the synbranchus of Surinam, when the gills are not in action, under the control of the par vagum nerve; perhaps also air may be swallowed, and intestinal respiration supply the necessary oxygen, as in cobitis. The gill openings, though large, may be accurately shut, and the bulging cheeks may thus retain sufficient water to prevent the desiccation of the gills, assisted probably by the skin as a respiratory organ. - The radiated shanny (P. subbifurcatus Storer), found rarely on the coasts of Massachusetts and New York, is about 5 in. long, reddish brown above and yellowish white below, with three dark-colored bands passing backward from the eyes; the lateral line is subbifurcated, and there are filaments on the nostrils.
European Shanny (Pholis laevis).