Cacti farm for cochineal insects, Mexico

Cacti farm for cochineal insects, Mexico

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Credit: JIM WEST/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cacti farm for cochineal insects. Close-up of a handful of cochineal bugs (Dactylopius coccus) that have been grown on Opuntia cacti (seen in background, also called the nopal or prickly pear cactus). The cochineal bugs are small white scale insects that grow on the paddles of the cacti. The insects are crushed to obtain the natural red dye carmine. Photographed in 2016, at Rancho La Nopalera, San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oaxaca, Mexico.

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