It was the romantic match that captured the hearts of the nation but, for Jeremy the lefty snail, the days of chasing love are sadly over. The gallant gastropod (pictured) with a one in a million genetic anomaly has died

Jeremy the ‘lefty’ snail has sadly died

It was the romantic match that captured the hearts of the nation but, for Jeremy the lefty snail, the days of chasing love are sadly over.

A rare mutation meant Jeremy’s shell coiled from left to right – making sex with a common snail impossible because his genitals were on the wrong side.

The gallant ‘lefty’ gastropod, however, finally found another ‘lefty’ to start a family with a former love rival, becoming a ‘father’ to around 100 tiny snail babies.

But the news was tinged with sadness as scientists, fascinated by his discovery in a London compost heap last year, said the snail died shortly afterwards.

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 It was the romantic match that captured the hearts of the nation but, for Jeremy the lefty snail, the days of chasing love are sadly over. The gallant gastropod (pictured) with a one in a million genetic anomaly has died

It was the romantic match that captured the hearts of the nation but, for Jeremy the lefty snail, the days of chasing love are sadly over. The gallant gastropod (pictured) with a one in a million genetic anomaly has died

SNAIL LOVE

Snails are hermaphrodites so can reproduce on their own without the need for another mate.

But the molluscs only do this in the absence of a suitable mate, preferring to hook up with another snail.

Researchers say the data from offspring of two lefty snails would also be far more valuable for genetic studies.

In June, researchers at the University of Nottingham had almost given up on Jeremy’s chances for children, after he was bested in a love triangle in June.

Jilted Jeremy was matched with two other rare snails, Lefty and Tomeau in hopes that they would create babies with the same swirls.

Despite some initial interest between Jeremy and Lefty, he ended up taking on the role of uncle to her offspring with Tomeau instead.

Last week, however, a group of tiny youngsters hatched after, in a plot twist worthy of a soap opera, the lovelorn mollusc finally found a mate in his former love rival Tomeau.

The shells of Jeremy’s progeny were right-coiled, but the Nottingham team say that is to be expected.

A further six further ‘sinistrals’, or ‘lefties’, have been located as part of public search for the rare creatures, since the original trio were matched.

It is believed old age killed the two year old Jeremy.

Speaking to MailOnline Jeremy’s minder, Dr Angus Davison, an evolutionary geneticist at the university, said: ‘The scientist in me has tried to remain dispassionate about the saga of Jeremy’s lovelife, because I am mostly interested in the underlying science.

‘I was still quite disappointed and shocked yesterday when I found that Jeremy had died, especially coming so soon after the offspring had hatched.

‘On the other hand, if it had not been for the help of the public, then we would not have got this far and Jeremy would likely never have found a mate.

‘Now that Jeremy has finally produced offspring, we can get on with the slow process of finding out what it is that makes lefty snails, why they are so rare and whether this can tell us anything about our own internal organ asymmetries.’

Jeremy was rescued from a compost heap in London.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham had almost given up on Jeremy's (pictured top) chances for children, after he was bested in a love triangle in June this year. Jilted Jeremy was matched with two other rare snails, Lefty and Tomeau, who instead mated with each other

Researchers at the University of Nottingham had almost given up on Jeremy’s (pictured top) chances for children, after he was bested in a love triangle in June this year. Jilted Jeremy was matched with two other rare snails, Lefty and Tomeau, who instead mated with each other

All is not lost, however, as Jeremy left behind a healthy 'escargatoire' - that's a group of snails, for the uninitiated - of offspring to preserve his genetic legacy. In plot twist worthy of a soap, the former love rivals then went on to mate together (pictured)

All is not lost, however, as Jeremy left behind a healthy ‘escargatoire’ – that’s a group of snails, for the uninitiated – of offspring to preserve his genetic legacy. In plot twist worthy of a soap, the former love rivals then went on to mate together (pictured)

After discovering his shell swirled the ‘wrong’ way compared to other snails, scientists put out a call in October 2016 to find the mollusc a mate to preserve his genetic legacy.

The search turned up Lefty in Ipswich and Tomeau, who was flown into the UK from a snail farm in Majorca.

The threesome was given to the University of Nottingham, who believe that studying the genetic variations which cause the unique shell formations may shed light on a rare heart condition in humans.

The shells of Jeremy's progeny (pictured) were right-coiled, but the Nottingham team say that is to be expected. They are hopeful that future generations will share their parents unique genetic inheritance

The shells of Jeremy’s progeny (pictured) were right-coiled, but the Nottingham team say that is to be expected. They are hopeful that future generations will share their parents unique genetic inheritance

A further six further 'sinistrals', or 'lefties', have been located as part of public search for the rare creatures, since the original trio were matched. This image shows the offspring in closeup, their tiny size highlighted by a nearby ballpoint pen

A further six further ‘sinistrals’, or ‘lefties’, have been located as part of public search for the rare creatures, since the original trio were matched. This image shows the offspring in closeup, their tiny size highlighted by a nearby ballpoint pen

Lefty and Tomeau began to produce eggs in April, although none of the offspring so far has shared the left-swirls of their parents.

The Nottingham team are hopeful that left-coiled offspring will be produced in future generations.

Scientists believe the snail’s unique swirls are related to a condition called dextrocardia, in which patients have their heart on the wrong side of their chest.

The same genes are believed to cause snails’ shells to twist round the wrong way.

Snails are hermaphrodites so can reproduce on their own without the need for another mate. Lefty and Tomeau began to produce eggs in April (pictured)
Researchers say data from the offspring of two lefty snails would be valuable for genetic studies. So far the pair have already had 170 babies (pictured), although none of the offspring so far has shared the left-swirls of their parents

Lefty and Tomeau began to produce eggs in April (left) and have already had 170 babies (hatching right), although none of the offspring so far has shared the left-swirls of their parents

DEXTROCARDIA

Scientists believe the snail’s unique swirls are related to a condition called dextrocardia, in which patients have their heart on the wrong side of their chest.

The same genes are believed to cause snails’ shells to twist round the wrong way.

They hope is that by mating two ‘left-handed’ snails, scientists can zero in on the genes responsible for their altered body plan.

This may also shed light on the heart condition, which is thought to affect one in 10,000 people.

They hope is that by mating two ‘left-handed’ snails, scientists can zero in on the genes responsible for their altered body plan.

This may also shed light on the heart condition, which is thought to affect one in 10,000 people.

Snails are hermaphrodites so can reproduce on their own without the need for another mate.

But the molluscs only do this in the absence of a suitable mate, preferring to hook up with another snail.

Researchers say the data from offspring of two lefty snails would also be far more valuable for genetic studies.

Speaking at the time, Dr Davison said: ‘Ultimately, if the difference is due to an inherited condition, we would try to find the gene responsible and to see if the same gene is also present, and perhaps has the same function, in other animals, including ourselves.’

Jeremy the snail (pictured left) with his true love Lefty from Ipswich (pictured right) before he was spurned for the exotic charms of Spanish visitor Tomeau

Jeremy the snail (pictured left) with his true love Lefty from Ipswich (pictured right) before he was spurned for the exotic charms of Spanish visitor Tomeau

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