Shell-shocked snail ends up in love triangle

Posted May 19, 2017

Dr Angus Davison at the University of Nottingham wanted to pair the snails to find out whether their genetics could offer an insight into the body asymmetry in other animals, including humans.

The molluscs are different because their shells spiral in an anti-clockwise direction - common species of snails have shells spiralling clockwise.

"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", said Davison.

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.

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.

But unfortunately none of the baby snails have followed in the left-coiling footsteps of their parents.

But not all love stories have a happy ending, as Jeremy was about to find out.

Lefty has since returned to his home in Ipswich and Davison is still hopeful that Jeremy might be back in business and mate with Tomeu.

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

Since all three are counterclockwise snails, and these gastropods are hermaphrodites, Jeremy stood a good chance to mate with either of the two newcomers. Lefty has since been removed from the situation in the hopes that Jeremy and Tomeu will get it on.

The partnership between Lefty and Tomeu resulted in 170 babies - all of which coil to the right - while Jeremy remains in the lab in Nottingham.

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

Dr Davison said: "It is a long-term commitment".