Meet Jeremy, the snail who made scientific history after an international search to find a suitable partner.
To most people, Jeremy would look like any other ordinary snail. He’s got a brown shell, a couple of antenna-like tentacles, and a slimy, suction-cup body.
But Jeremy’s shell pattern is actually extremely unique. Most snails have a swirl on their shell that rotates clockwise from inside to out, whereas Jeremy’s shell is literally one-in-a-million; swirling anti-clockwise when you start from the middle.
So when Jeremy was discovered in London, scientists set out to answer one question: is his unique shell a freak of nature, or is it a genetic trait?
Unfortunately for Jeremy, he couldn’t mate with any old snail. For any love-making to be possible, his partner had to have the same shell pattern so their bodies could align.
So with the help of the BBC, PBS, and a Twitter account, Professor Angus Davison set out to find Jeremy some #snaillove (go on, search it on Twitter… we dare you).
But to this day, Jeremy remains alone… JKS HE FOUND LOVE.
The media callout found a handful of potential suitors for the very special gastropod and he got cosy with one of them. The snail Jeremy mated with had 56 babies, and a third of those are believed to be Jeremy’s.
But out of those little snails, only a few had a shell that swirled anti-clockwise like both of their parents, meaning the unique carapaces don’t come down to genetics alone.
Jeremy sadly died in 2017, but his legacy is up there with Spongebob’s pet snail Gary, and that speedy little escargot from the movie Turbo.