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Cochineal - Dactylopius coccus Seen in cactus of the genus Opuntia. Apparently these scale insects live and feed on the cacti. They produce carminic acid to deter predators. This substance is used as colorant, dating as far back as the 15th century, according to Wikipedia.<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/88799/opuntia_cactus_infected_by_dactylopius_coccus.html" title="Opuntia cactus infected by Dactylopius coccus"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2298/88799_thumb.JPG?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1582156810&Signature=AxO%2BFHyCH90q97mMNh%2BdBag3NHo%3D" width="200" height="150" alt="Opuntia cactus infected by Dactylopius coccus The nymphs secrete a waxy white substance over their bodies for protection from water loss and excessive sun.  Cochineal,Dactylopius coccus,Geotagged,Spain,Spring" /></a></figure> Cochineal,Dactylopius coccus,Geotagged,Spain,Spring Click/tap to enlarge PromotedSpecies introCountry intro

Cochineal - Dactylopius coccus

Seen in cactus of the genus Opuntia. Apparently these scale insects live and feed on the cacti. They produce carminic acid to deter predators. This substance is used as colorant, dating as far back as the 15th century, according to Wikipedia.

Opuntia cactus infected by Dactylopius coccus The nymphs secrete a waxy white substance over their bodies for protection from water loss and excessive sun.  Cochineal,Dactylopius coccus,Geotagged,Spain,Spring

    comments (7)

  1. Some truly excellent research, Marta! Posted 7 days ago
    1. Actually, I was surprised this species was not yet in JD..happy to introduce it! ;-) Posted 5 days ago
      1. I did some math. JD has now documented 1.59% of the current 1.300.000 known species on the planet. Which is still only 15% of the expected total species. So we documented about 0.25% of total species.

        So, the odds of introducing a new species are pretty good for quite a while :)
        Posted 5 days ago
  2. Great spotting! Posted 7 days ago
    1. Thanks! Posted 5 days ago
  3. Very interesting! Posted 7 days ago
    1. Thanks! Posted 5 days ago

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The cochineal is a scale insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the natural dye carmine is derived. A primarily sessile parasite native to tropical and subtropical South America through North America , this insect lives on cacti in the genus ''Opuntia'', feeding on plant moisture and nutrients. The insects are found on the pads of prickly pear cacti, collected by brushing them off the plants, and dried.

The insect produces carminic acid that deters predation by other insects... more

Similar species: True Bugs
Species identified by Patomarazul
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By Patomarazul

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Uploaded Jan 13, 2020. Captured May 4, 2019 15:42 in Tinguatón, 16, 35560 Tinguatón, Las Palmas, Spain.
  • SP-820UZ
  • f/3.7
  • 10/600s
  • ISO80
  • 5.7mm