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The learned name for this group of insects is
the coccidæ, from the Greek word coccos, a
berry. The story of this name illustrates how
words are imported into languages, and how
languages grow. Probably one of the earliest
dyes used by mankind was derived from the
berry of the plant which the Greeks called
kermes, whence the French derive their word
cramoisi, and the English the word crimson.
Does the word criminal come from the red
stain ? The scale insect which yields the
cochineal, from its appearance, was supposed
to be a berry, and when this error was
abandoned, it was said to be a worm. During the
middle ages, while this belief prevailed, the colour
was called vermiculatum, or worm-colour, and
then from the French, who call a worm, un ver,
the English derived the word vermilion.

English naturalists had their attention turned
some seventy years ago to the coccidæ, by the
apparition of coccus vitis viniferæ of Linnæus
upon their vines in Dorsetshire and Hampshire.
They observed a black dust on their vines on
which the flies fed eagerly, and where this dust-
like substance appeared, the leaves did not thrive
and the fruit did not ripen. Lenses were far
inferior in those days to what they are now, and
it was only the more patient and persevering
investigators who detected behind the larger
boughs a coating of husky shells, from whose
sides protruded a cotton-like substance surrounding
a multitude of eggs. They were greatly
surprised to learn that the severity of many
English winters was no protection from this
pest of warmer climes. The cottony substance
resembles spiders' webs, so closely, that they
looked for the spiders, and were surprised
they could find none. From the works of
Reaumur they learned that these slimy clammy
sticky nuisances were due to insects called cocci.

From the time when they were deemed berries
or worms, our knowledge of these cocci has been
increasing gradually and constantly. Until some
one devotes himself to the task of telling us
everything known respecting them, I will not
pretend to say how many species there are of them.
Our knowledge of them is increased by the
gardeners who study how to destroy them as
pests, and by the pharmaceutical chemists who
investigate the best means of cultivating them.
The cochineal scale insects were acclimated in
Spain by the Spaniards, who brought them from
Mexico, and so jealously have the Spaniards
guarded what they call their " nopaleros," or
the gardens for cultivating the cocci, that the
Spanish law awards death to the criminal guilty
of attempting to take the plants or insects away
from Spain with a view to acclimating them in
other lands.

The cochineal females are all born perfect,
whereas the males make their first appearance
in a bug-like cocoon or case, the lower end
of which is open, and through this end they
escape backwards. The males being winged
whilst the females are fixed; the males appear
to be very few in number in comparison with
the females; but instead of giving currency
to the extraordinary statements respecting the
disproportion of the numbers of the sexes
among these insects, it may be wiser to doubt
if as yet any accurate data exist upon this
point. The females furnish the cochineal. A
small red drop appearing at the extremity of
the insect announces the proper moment for
brushing it off the plant. This is done by
women using feathers, squirrel-tails, or blunt
knives. Three and a quarter pounds of the
living insects yield one pound of the dead,
which is said to contain seventy thousand
of them. They are brushed off from the
cactuses upon cloths or mats spread upon the
ground, and they are killed by immersion in
hot water, or by hot air baths, or by exposure
to the sun. These insects are sold as silver
cochineal, black cochineal, granella, and
garblings. The garblings are cochineal dust or
fragments; the granella are the small young
immature insects; the black cochineal are
females exhausted by hatching; the silver
cochineal consists of the females full of eggs.
Harvests of them are gathered in May, July, and

The consumption of cochineal in this country
is two million pounds a year; and if we
multiply every pound of this by seventy
thousand, we shall marvel how the price of
cochineal wholesale in Mincing-lane in. the city of
London should be from half-a-crown. to i'our
shillings per pound. Even if the cactus could be
grown in the British islands, the price of the
labour of women would make competition in the
market impossible, for the price of cochineal is
one of the results of the cheapness of labour.
The Indian women are said to squat down for
hours collecting the insects of a single plant.
Cochineal is used in colouring jellies and in
curing whooping-cough, as well as for dyeing
purposes, and when a gentlewoman of London,
Paris, or Vienna is eating blanc-mange from
a porcelain plate, she wots not that an Indian
squaw brushed from a cactus the silvery insect
which gives her dainty food its beautiful hue.

We learn from Canada that there has been
discovered in the neighbourhood of Kingston,
on the common black spruce (abies nigra Poer),
a species of coccus yielding a dye of great
richness. This dye resembles cochineal in the
colour it gives wool and silk, and yet it can
be produced in temperate climes. The scarlet
from it, resembles the flowers of Adonis autumnalis.
Whilst the culture of Mexican cochineal
is now displacing the culture of the vine in
several of the vine-growing countries, it would
be curious if a rival should spring up among
the parasites of the common trees of temperate
climates. Mr. Berthelot, a French naturalist,
has published a memoir to prove that
it was one of the coccidæ, called coccus
manniparus, and found on. Mount Sinai and in
Kurdistan, which yielded the manna eaten by
the Jews in the wilderness. Lac, I need
scarcely say, is now ascertained to be the
production of a species of coccus, very common
on trees in India. Cochineal consists of the