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Scientists appeal for help to find a mate for Jeremy the lonely snail found in London

Scientists are seeking the public's help in finding a mate for a lonely snail using the twitter hashtag #snaillove.

The common garden mollusc, named Jeremy, may appear like other snails to the naked eye, but has been dubbed a "one in a million find" as it is the mirror image of how other snails appear.

Commonly the shell of a snail spirals in a clockwise direction. Credit: Angus Davison

Jeremy the snail was found in a compost heap in south west London. His shell spirals in an anti-clockwise direction meaning it is unable to mate with more common snails whose shell spiral in the opposite way.

Professor in evolutionary genetics, Dr Angus Davison from the University of Nottingham is hoping to find a mate for Jeremy in a bid to discover more about the creature's genetics.

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This really is an exciting find - I have been studying snails for more than 20 years and I have never seen one of these before.

We are very keen to study the snail's genetics to find out whether this is a result of a developmental glitch or whether this is a genuine inherited genetic trait.

Snails are hermaphrodites, meaning that if they want to they can reproduce on their own without the need for another mate.

However, they don't really like doing this and from our perspective, the genetic data from offspring of two lefty snails would be far richer and more valuable to us.

– Dr Angus Davison
The public is being urged to use the hashtag #snail love to help find Jeremy (right) a mate Credit: Angus Davison

He is now looking for another snail whose shell spirals in an anti-clockwise direction and is asking people to scour hedgerows, borders and plant pots for this rare variety of the common snail.