1a scarlet dye used chiefly for coloring food. the dried bodies of a female scale insect, which are crushed to yield cochineal dye. a dye similar to cochineal made from the oak kermes insect (see kermes). 2 (cochineal insect) the scale insect that is used for cochineal, native to Mexico and formerly widely cultivated on cacti.
- Dactylopius coccus, family Dactylopiidae, suborder Homoptera