cochineal insect


Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.

cochineal insect

n.
Any of several scale insects of the family Dactylopiidae, especially Dactylopius coccus, that feed on prickly pear cacti and range from the southwest United States to Central America.

coch′ineal in`sect


n.
any of various scale insects, of the family Dactylopiidae, that feed on cactus and have a bright red body fluid used as a dye.
[1795–1805]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cochineal insect - Mexican red scale insect that feeds on cacticochineal insect - Mexican red scale insect that feeds on cacti; the source of a red dye
scale insect - small homopterous insect that usually lives and feeds on plants and secretes a protective waxy covering
Dactylopius, genus Dactylopius - type genus of the Dactylopiidae
References in periodicals archive ?
It is also the most common host for the cochineal insect, the source of vibrant red dye that was the mainstay of a number of local pre-colonial economies in Central America, becoming an even more sought-after commodity with the coming of the Spanish.
Some sources claim that the Egyptians used carmine, an extract of the cochineal insect for this purpose.
It's extraordinary for its employment of a carmine pink ink, which is actually made from the cochineal insect.
The brightly-coloured snack contains a red dye processed from the dried body of the female cochineal insect, collected in central America.
On the life-history and fecundity of the cochineal insect, Dactylopius austrinus De Lotto (Homoptera: Dactylopiidae), a biological control agent for the cactus Opuntia aurantiaca, Bulletin of Entomological Research 69: 629-36.