November 28, 2016
A nationwide search to find a mate for a 'one in a million' rare mutant garden snail has been successful.
In October, Dr Angus Davison in The University of Nottingham's School of Life Sciences appealed to the public for their help in match-making for Jeremy, who with a left-handed, anti-clockwise spiralling shell is a mirror image of other brown garden snails.
Dr Davison needs the offspring from Jeremy and another left-coiling or sinistral snail to be able to study the genetics of this rare condition, which may offer valuable insights into a common understanding of body asymmetry in other animals, including humans.
Following the appeal via the national media and a #snaillove hashtag on Twitter, Jeremy became a media sensation, with his story featuring on prime time BBC current affairs and comedy programmes including BBC Radio Four's Today Programme, Have I Got News For You and No Such Thing as the News.
His stardom has led to him being paired with Lefty the snail from Ipswich, whose owner Jade Sanchez Melton heard about the appeal from a member of the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
Jade said: "Scientifically speaking, this is something which I believe has never been done and I am going to be fascinated to see whether breeding these two snails will result in more lefties or whether their offspring will feature the more common clockwise coiling shells."
Jade has had a fascination with snails from a very young age and keeps and breeds a variety of the molluscs as pets. She keeps more than 300 snails in 30 tanks and one aquarium and her collection includes native UK species and water snails, as well as a variety of South American snail and the impressive Giant African Land Snail, which grow up to 20 cm in length.
Jade discovered Lefty just under a year ago, crawling up a tree, and immediately recognised it as something special, initially suspecting that it may be an imported species of some kind.
Jeremy has been taken to Ipswich to meet Lefty and Jade will be observing them for around two weeks to see whether they mate. She will be looking for obvious signs of a pairing that would include the presence of so-called 'love darts', sharp spikes made of calcium which snails stab into each other's bodies during the process of mating, and of course, any eggs resulting from a union.