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There’s A New Left-Coiling Snail In Town, And It’s Looking For Love

Seek and you shell find…love?

Holly Large - Editorial Assistant

Holly Large

Holly Large - Editorial Assistant

Holly Large

Editorial Assistant

Holly is a graduate medical biochemist with an enthusiasm for making science interesting, fun and accessible.

Editorial Assistant

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Three snails on a rock, the one in the middle has a left-coiled shell.

I just crawled to say “I love you”.

Image courtesy of Angus Davison.

Back in 2016, the world played matchmaker to Jeremy, a rare left-coiling snail that became something of an internet “shellebrity” on his quest to find a mate. Seven years later, there’s another lefty looking for love, and this time you might get to name it too.

Although it was something of a tumultuous journey, Jeremy eventually s-nailed it when it came to finding a partner, successfully mating with them to produce right-coiling offspring. Sadly, Jeremy died just a week later but left behind one shell of a legacy. Rather than the result of genetic inheritance, the right-coiling on the offspring’s shells showed that left-coiled snails are likely the result of a developmental accident.

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This may well be the case for the latest young lefty looking for love. The left-coiling grove snail or Cepaea nemoralis was found by Angus Davison, who spearheaded the campaign to find Jeremy a mate, near his house.

“In 28 years of working on snails, I have never found a left-coiling snail in the UK, so it was amazing to [finally] find one near my home,” said Davison in a statement. “Now, we are once again seeking the help of the public to find a mate, but this time to also find a name.”

Like Jeremy, the grove snail has genitalia on the opposite side – this would make it pretty difficult for it to successfully mate on its own, as it makes it much harder to mate with right-coiled snails and fellow left-coiled snails are hard to find. 

With the legacy of Jeremy and the power of the internet, it’s hoped that the new campaign will quickly find the snail a suitor. According to the University of Nottingham’s statement, it’s only a young adult and could live for several years – and without help, those years could sadly be without love and tiny snail babies.

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If that doesn’t pull on your heartstrings to the extent that you’re willing to become the Millionaire Matchmaker of the snail world, sifting through your garden or local park in search of an equally rare partner, there’s another way you can participate too. 

As of yet, this latest snail is unnamed, and the public has been given the task of finding a moniker. Jeremy, with his left-coiling shell, was named after UK Labour politician Jeremy Corbyn, who is known to enjoy a spot of gardening. If you think you can beat that, suggestions can be submitted here.

The search is on - l'escargot! *ahem* Let's go!


ARTICLE POSTED IN

natureNaturenatureanimals
  • tag
  • animals,

  • mating,

  • Snails,

  • love,

  • gastropods,

  • mollusks

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