A ‘one in a million’ mutant garden snail, who achieved international notoriety after a public appeal was launched to help find him a mate, has died.
Jeremy, the brown garden snail with a rare left-coiling shell, was found dead on Wednesday at the University of Nottingham.
He was originally found last year near a compost heap in Rayne’s Park, South West London, by a retired scientist from the Natural History Museum.
He then sent the snail to Dr Angus Davison at the University’s School of Life Sciences, who launched an appeal for other ‘lefty’ snails to find Jeremy a mate and preserve the mutation.
And shortly before his death, Jeremy was finally able to produce offspring after a match was found, ensuring that his legacy will live on through continuing genetic studies.
Video: Dr Davison speaking earlier this year about Jeremy’s quest for love
Dr Davison said: “Although it is unfortunate that Jeremy has gone, the help that we have received from the public has been amazing. Because of the rarity of lefty garden snails, we have never before been able to get two lefty snails together to study the inheritance of the condition.
“Through the appeal, which then went out worldwide, we ended up finding six other lefty snails. This would not have been possible without the public’s help.”
He went on to say: “This may be the end for Jeremy, but now that the snail has finally produced offspring, this is a way point in our long term research goal to understand the genetics of body asymmetry.”
Jeremy developed a following on his Twitter account @leftysnail and his story even inspired one fan to have a tattoo snail and another to pen a tragic love ballad about his plight.
Jeremy’s offspring have all been born with right coiling shells, proving that in the case of these mutant snails, two lefts make a right – at least in the second generation.
Jeremy’s shell has been preserved for the University’s natural history collection and will be used to teach students about this rare genetic variant.