Cochineal beetles on prickly pear cactus

Cochineal beetles on prickly pear cactus

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Credit: MARK WILLIAMSON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cochineal beetles - Dactylopius coccus - on a prickly pear - Opuntia species - cactus in Gran Canaria. The beetles are removed from the cactus, dried, crushed and used to produce a red - carmine - dye used in food colouring, etc. Gran Canaria is the second most populous of the Canary Islands, a group of seven main islands, and a number of smaller islets, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco. The Canaries are known as autonomous communities of Spain and their economies are based largely on tourism.

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Keywords: beetle, beetles, blue sky, cacti, cactus, canaries, canary islands, carmine, coccus, cochineal, colouring, dactylopius, dye, food, gran canaria, green, leaf, opuntia, pear, prickly, red, spain, species

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