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Rare Snail Jeremy Left Defeated In Love Triangle: How The Poor Snail’s Potential Suitors Ended Up Mating With Each Other

18 May 2017, 1:25 pm EDT By Alexandra Lozovschi Tech Times
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Sex frenzies no good for male snakes, leading to ageing and early death
Accidentally friendzoned. This is the story of Jeremy (right), a genetically rare, one in a million snail, and his lovers’ tryst that ended not quite as expected.  ( Angus Davison | University of Nottingham )

As it turns out, people aren't the only ones who struggle with romance. Creatures from all walks of life have to overcome unforeseen obstacles in their quest of finding a mate.

This is the story of Jeremy the snail and of a lovers' tryst that ended not quite as expected.

One In A Million

Jeremy is nothing like your ordinary garden snail, and has more in common with the X-Men heroes than the average gastropod.

What sets Jeremy apart from his fellow snails is an unusual genetic mutation that caused the spirals on his shell to run counterclockwise, rather than clockwise.

This turned Jeremy into a magnificent genetically rare creature — literally one in a million.

But his special feature didn't bring quite the perks one would imagine. Due to this mutation, the snail had a hard time finding a suitable mate.

The world first became acquainted with Jeremy in October 2016, when researchers at the University of Nottingham appealed to the public to help them find a suitor for the lonely special mollusk.

"While the shells of this common species spiral in a right-handed, clockwise direction — known as dextral — the Nottingham snail is a sinistral, with a left-handed anti-clockwise spiraling shell. In essence, the 'lefty' snail is a mirror image of its other shell-dwelling friends," wrote the scientists at the time in a press release.

His uniqueness made copulating with clockwise snails virtually impossible since their genitalia are positioned in the opposite direction.

Things finally started looking up for Jeremy last November, when the university reported they found not one, but two potential mates for the lovesick snail.

But not all love stories have a happy ending, as Jeremy was about to find out.

Accidentally Friendzoned

The world seemed like a lonely place for Jeremy until two other rare snails made their way to the university's life sciences lab. They were Lefty (from Ipswich, Suffolk) and Tomeu (from Majorca, Spain).

The two rare snails were brought to the university as potential mates for Jeremy after the #snaillove campaign on Twitter.

Since all three are counterclockwise snails, and these gastropods are hermaphrodites, Jeremy stood a good chance to mate with either of the two newcomers.

Yet, despite showing some initial interest and flirting with Jeremy in November, Lefty was eventually won over by the exotic charms of the Spanish "conquistador."

In an ironic twist of fate, poor Jeremy was cast aside in favor of the Latin lover, as Lefty hooked up with Tomeu.

As Angus Davison, the evolutionary geneticist who studies Jeremy, explained, the two "have gone and reproduced with each other, rather, and ignored Jeremy." Talk about telenovelas.

"Unfortunately, kind of in the same way that you might have someone you're interested in romantically, you introduce them to your best friend, and of course that person goes off with your best friend," said Davison.

But Jeremy's misfortune still spells a win for science. Lefty and Tomeu began to produce eggs in April and have already had 170 babies, although none of the offspring so far has shared the left-swirls of their parents.

Nonetheless, it's a great opportunity for researchers to study them and hopefully identify the genetic variations which cause the unique shell formations.

"Probably the mother is what's called heterozygote. She has two versions of the gene, and the one that makes you coil right is probably the dominant one," Davison ventured a guess.

Yet, I'm sure we can all be sympathetic to the plight of the hopeful snail that got friendzoned and had his heart broken in the process. Perhaps, just like Sudan, the last remaining male white rhino, Jeremy could try his luck on Tinder next.

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