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Shell-shocked: Rare snail loses out in love triangle

19 May 2017

While he might stand out from the crowd, it means he is unable to mate with snails whose shells spiral the opposite way - which is the vast majority.

Finding a mate is particularly hard because Jeremy - and the other two - all have shells that curl counterclockwise, the opposite direction of typical snails.

A snail who's search for love went public, after an appeal by a scientist at The University of Nottingham, has ended up in a love triangle. The new baby snails were not left-coiling, so scientists will have to wait.

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Dr. Davison said: "As there has so far been no sign of Jeremy mating with either Lefty or Tomeu, it underlines how incredibly lucky we were to find not just one, but two of these amazingly rare snails following our public appeal".

And Jeremy remains alone.

Angus Davison, a professor at the University of Nottingham in central England, took Jeremy into care and launched an worldwide search previous year to find a possible mate for the lonely hermaphrodite.

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It could be as uncommon as one in a million, though evolutionary geneticist Angus Davison of the University of Nottingham told us back in November that it's more likely to be about one out of every 100,000 snails.

This first batch of eggs to hatch were "fathered" by Lefty and laid by Tomeu in April - snails are hermaphrodites so can fulfil the role of either mother or father.

Jeremy may still have a chance however, as Lefty has now returned to Ipswich and Dr Davison is hoping that Jeremy will be encouraged to mate with Tomeu.

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Yep that's right, more than 170 baby snails have hatched after parents Lefty and Tomeu got together, leaving Jeremy resigned to his fate as the loving uncle to their offspring. Their initial question: do two left-coiling snails produce left-coiling offspring? He's a mirror image of other members of his species - and he wouldn't be able to mate with normal snails because their reproductive organs wouldn't line up.

Shell-shocked: Rare snail loses out in love triangle