Jeremy the snail became popular a few months ago when a team of British researchers were trying to play Cupid for him, and find him a pair to mate with. He was a special snail, since a genetic mutation had caused his shell to coil on the left side, instead of the right. Unfortunately, last week, Jeremy was found dead in a British laboratory.
Jeremy couldn’t find a partner
Given his unusual mutation, Jeremy had a hard time finding another snail with the same shell coils as him. This prevented him from mating, since the position of his genitals corresponds with the direction of the coils. Therefore, the coils on the left side made it impossible for the snail to mate with a regular snail, with its coils on the right side.
Jeremy was found by a scientist who used to work at the Natural History Museum, who also notified the evolutionary geneticist Angus Davidson. His main field of research is snails, so he was curious to find out if this specimen’s condition was inherited from his parents or merely the product of a mutation. Therefore, he needed to find him another snail to mate, and see what traits the offspring would display.
The left coils are likely genetically transmitted
After Jeremy became popular everywhere in the world, six other left-coiled snails offered to be his partner. The first two candidates appeared to like each other best, leaving our favorite snail trapped in a love triangle. After the two of them mated, researchers could examine their offspring and determine the origin of the coils.
Shortly before Jeremy’s death, one of these snails gave birth to some more babies, and scientists assumed Jeremy must have been the father. All of them were right-coiled, leading to a series of conclusions. This trait is likely inherited, but it takes more than one generation to be passed down to the descendants.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons