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Cochineal Scale

Scientific Name: 
Dactylopius sp.

Masses of white wax are produced by the female scale for protection from predators.  This scale is a selective feeder on beavertail cactus in the genus Opuntia and is famous for the red dye found in the body fluids.  Crushing the body of the scale will reveal the cochineal or Spanish Red dye that had been used by Native Americans for coloring fabric until later replaced by synthetic dyes.  Photos by Laurel Woodley

Garden Location: 
Cactus Garden, Hidden Orchard
Dactylopius sp. on Opuntia
Dactylopius sp. forms white clumps
Dactylopius sp. when smashed produces the red dye
Viewing Months: 
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Animals: