Wednesday May 17, 2017
more stories from this episode
Jeremy the snail remains a bachelor after efforts by the University of Nottingham to find the genetically rare gastropod a compatible mate backfired.
After a global appeal for other rare snails for Jeremy to mate with, the university found two possible matches, but they “have gone and reproduced with each other, rather, and ignored Jeremy,” Angus Davison, the evolutionary geneticist who studies Jeremy, told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann.
“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.”
As It Happens first reported on Jeremy in October 2016, when researchers at the university’s life sciences lab explained the rare genetic disorder that makes Jeremy’s chances of finding a mate extremely unlikely.
Unlike most garden snails, the spirals on Jeremy’s shell run counterclockwise. That makes it impossible for Jeremy to copulate with a clockwise snail, because “essentially, their bits are in the wrong position,” Davison said at the time.
It seemed Jeremy was doomed to a life of solitude, until British snail enthusiast Jade Melton found another counterclockwise snail in her garden, named it Lefty and introduced it to Jeremy.
Things were going well at first. Melton told As It Happens in November the pair were actively “flirting.”
“They just touch each other gently with their tentacles, their eye stocks, and they will kind…