Nottingham

Jeremy the snail finds 'lefty' love after appeal

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Media captionA public appeal to find a second rare left-coiled snail succeeds

Two potential mates have been found for a "one in a million" garden snail with a left-spiralling shell.

The University of Nottingham appealed to the public for help in finding Jeremy, who was found in London, another "lefty" to mate with.

As a result of the plea, the mollusc has been matched to another in Ipswich and one that has escaped "the pot" at a snail farm in Majorca.

Jeremy has been meeting his new suitor in Suffolk.

Image copyright Angus Davison / University of Nottingham
Image caption Angus Davison and Jade Melton in Suffolk with their "lefties"

Dr Angus Davison, from the university's school of life sciences, made his appeal in October to find another snail with an anticlockwise spiralling shell.

"We've got very lucky," he said.

"In the end, we found not one but two other rare lefty snails, one in Suffolk and another in Tomeu in Spain.

"Both of the finders must have very keen eyes in spotting what is a very rare condition."

Jade Sanchez Melton, a snail lover from Suffolk, who found her "lefty" snail crawling up a tree, said: "There were good signs last night of some potential flirting.

"I am going to be fascinated to see whether breeding these two snails will result in more lefties."

Image copyright Angus Davison / University of Nottingham
Image caption The pair will stab each other with "love darts" if they choose to mate

The two snails will be observed for two weeks to see whether they mate.

Signs of a "pairing" will be the presence of "love darts" - sharp spikes made of calcium which the snails stab into each other's bodies during the mating process.

There is a serious scientific aim to Dr Davison's work and he recently discovered a gene that determines whether a snail's shell twists in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.

He said the same gene affects body asymmetry in other animals, possibly including humans, which could help understand how organs are placed in the body.

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