any of a family (Dactylopiidae) of scale
insects, esp. one (Dactylopius coccus
) that has a brilliant-red body fluid
, feeds on certain cactuses, is found chiefly
, and was formerly much used as a source of cochineal
Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright © 2010 by
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.