Red cochineal dye (carminic acid): Its role in nature


Journal Article

Carminic acid, the well-known red dyestuff from cochineal insects (Dactylopius spp.), is a potent feeding deterrent to ants. This deterrency may be indicative of the natural function of the compound, which may have evolved in cochineals as a chemical weapon against predation. The behavior ofan unusual predator is described-the carnivorous caterpillar of a pyralid moth (Laetilia coccidivora)-which is undeterred by carminic acid and feeds on cochineals. The animal has the remarkable habit of utilizing the ingested carminic acid for defensive purposes of its own. Copyright © 1980 AAAS.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Eisner, T; Nowicki, S; Goetz, M; Meinwald, J

Published Date

  • January 1, 1980

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 208 / 4447

Start / End Page

  • 1039 - 1042

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.208.4447.1039

Citation Source

  • Scopus