Jeremy the lonely lefty snail led a storied life that has now, unfortunately, ended. However, his trials and tribulations weren’t for naught, as he managed to leave a legacy behind.
Jeremy with a tiny baby snail [Photo by Angus Davison]
You may remember Jeremy and his story of love and loss. Jeremy was a snail with an extremely rare mutation. His shell spiraled on his left side instead of on his right like most other garden snails. This made mating with right-spiraled snails impossible for snails like Jeremy, since their sex organs are on opposite sides. Given that the condition is so rare, snails like Jeremy are hard-pressed to find a mate that they can, well, actually mate with.
Jeremy and Lefty, before Lefty was charmed away by Tomeau [Photo by Angus Davison]
Angus Davison, a professor at the University of Nottingham, took Jeremy under his wing and sought out a mate for the unlucky gastropod. Davison found two candidates: snails with left-spiraling shells named Lefty and Tomeau. However, instead of vying for Jeremy’s attentions, Lefty and Tomeau mated with each other.
Jeremy and Tomeau mating [Photo by the University of Nottingham]
Lefty successfully bore 170 offspring with Tomeau--offspring that Jeremy, ever the bigger snail, reportedly cared for. All 170 of Lefty and Tomeau’s offspring have shells that spiral to the right side. When we last left off with Jeremy’s story, Lefty and Tomeau continued to mate with each other, but not with Jeremy. Davison, however, held out hope that eventually, Jeremy will have the chance to eventually mate.
Sadly, Jeremy shuffled--well, slithered--off the mortal coil sometime on October 11, 2017. So did Jeremy die without ever getting a chance to mate and leave a legacy of small, right-spiral shelled offspring behind?
One of Jeremy's offspring, all of whom have shells that spiral on their right side [Photo by the University of Nottingham]
In a heart-warming twist to what seemed to be ending as a tragic tale of an unfortunate snail, Jeremy turned out to have managed to mate with Tomeau just before dying. Tomeau bore a batch of 56 snails, a third of which likely belonged to Jeremy. The remaining babies were likely the product of earlier liaisons with Lefty. And yes, all the babies--both Jeremy’s and Lefty’s--had right-coiling shells.
Davison himself admitted that from a scientific standpoint, getting Jeremy to mate wasn’t vital, especially since Lefty and Tomeau had already managed to mate and produce at least three batches of offspring. However, Jeremy’s story definitely captured the imagination of many people across the globe, all of whom were rooting for Jeremy to “find love”.
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