It is a native insect of Mexico, parasite of different species of cactus including the prickly pear. From every kg of dry cochineal is extracted 18% carminic acid, the principle red-violet dye. This pigment is widely used in cosmetics, for water and for colors to dye fabrics, tooth pastes, tablets, elixirs and syrups. It is presented on the market in the form of small grains semispherical the size of a lentil, very wrinkled at the surface and of red-brown color, mostly sprinkled by white or greyish white powder. Immersed in water, the cochineal swells and assumes the primitive form bug.