We find out in the Deathly Hallows that a snitch has a "flesh memory" and can recall the first person that touched it. It is claimed that this is to help settle a "disputed capture".

Does this imply that one doesn't need to "catch" the snitch as much as you just need to be the first to touch the snitch? I seem to recall that you need to actually catch it though, which raises the question: Does the flesh memory of the snitch really settle anything?

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    I've wondered this myself. Perhaps you have to cover some percent of it. Or perhaps it's just that because it's magic, the flesh memory only kicks in when you've caught it. – Kevin Feb 1 '12 at 4:54
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    Basically it's used to settle disputes if say two seekers get tangled in the capture for the snitch, the one who caught it first will have his/her touch registered. – Joshua1729 Feb 1 '12 at 6:55
  • @Joshua1729 But that's my point! We don't care about the first person to have their touch registered. We would want to know the first person to actually capture it. – Dason Feb 1 '12 at 13:56
  • @Dason Perhaps it has some pressure sensitivity parameter as well? or surface area of touch? – Joshua1729 Feb 2 '12 at 4:34
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    The films managed to mess this up as all the quidditch matches in the early films had the players wearing gloves. – AlasdairCM Feb 2 '12 at 12:20

Scrimgeour says:

"A Snitch is not touched by bare skin before it is released, not even by the maker, who wears gloves. It carries an enchantment by which it can identify the first human to lay hands upon it, in case of a disputed capture."

-- Rufus Scrimgeour, The Will of Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"Lay hands upon it" is a bit more ambiguous than "touch" because the definition implies to manage with the hands, i.e. to have control of it. So if that reading is correct, then it will settle the disputed capture by indicating which Seeker had first control of it.

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    Does this imply that each and every snitch is only ever used once? That quote makes it clear that it doesn't remember the last person to touch it in a series of games, but rather the very first person to ever touch it (hence the caution by its maker). – Nerrolken Nov 18 '14 at 22:41
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    @Nerrolken, I imagine it's like the cards used for professional poker or blackjack: the important tournaments use a fresh Snitch for each game, but your friendly neighborhood pickup game uses whatever Snitch you can get your hands on. – Martha Nov 18 '14 at 23:01
  • maybe add the source of the quote, i.e. "from page ?" or "chapter ?" etc. +1 – RedCaio Jan 27 '16 at 1:39

I would assume that the enchantment on the Snitch is designed specifically for the purpose, and as a result it uses whatever definition of "capture" that the official Quidditch rules do. It's magic after all.

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    <handwave>magic</handwave> – user32390 Jan 27 '16 at 8:05

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