Shell-shocked: Rare snail loses out in love triangle


Scientists put out their appeal for a snail partner in October 2016 after Jeremy was rescued from a compost heap in London. Due to this mutation, the snail had a hard time finding a suitable mate.

His uniqueness made copulating with clockwise snails virtually impossible since their genitalia are positioned in the opposite direction.

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".

University of Nottingham photo of snails Lefty (right) and Jeremy (left).

But in a plot twist, the two snubbed Jeremy and found love with each other instead.

Lefty and Tomeu, from Spain, came forward as potential mates following the #snaillove campaign on Twitter.

"This snail is very rare".

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Despite some initial interest between Jeremy and Lefty, however it seems the exotic charms of the Spanish visitor were more to Lefty's tastes.

Tragically for Jeremy, the two other snails, called Lefty and Tomeu, preferred to mate with each other and have now produced three clutches of eggs between them.

As Angus Davison, the evolutionary geneticist who studies Jeremy, explained, the two "have gone and reproduced with each other, rather, and ignored Jeremy".

"The irony is, it's like that thing where maybe you introduce your best friends to a girl you're interested in".

As if to rub it in poor Jeremy's face, Lefty and Tomeau have had 170 babies since they began producing eggs in April.

Nonetheless, it's a great opportunity for researchers to study them and hopefully identify the genetic variations which cause the unique shell formations.

Lead researcher Dr Angus Davison said: "The fact that the babies developed right-coiling shells may be because the mother carries both the dominant and recessive versions of the genes that determine shell-coiling direction".