Common name : Cochineal

Scientific name : Dactylopius coccus

Family : Dactylopiidae

Native to : South America and Mexico

Interesting fact : Carminic acid is extracted from this bug. This acid is then used as a dye worldwide in cosmetics, food colours, clothing dye, etc.

5 mm in length and having a deep red colour, this bug is often mistaken for the beetle. The female loses her legs in the molting process. The female is also wingless, and hence conceals herself in a waxy cotton substance on the plant it feeds from, so as to stay safe from predators. Their diet consists of the juices of the cactus plant. The female dies after laying eggs, which are attached to her body. The male bug fertilizes the eggs.

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