Common name

Tomentose cochineal scale

Field characters

Body broadly oval or rotund; round in lateral view; body dark purple or red, bright red when crushed, covered by thin filamentous ovisac secretion, individuals usually distinct in heavy infestations; body visible through secretion. Occurring on pads of host.

Validation characters

Two distinct sizes of dorsal setae, larger size robust, apices truncate, forming 3 pairs of longitudinal lines on dorsum from head or thorax to apex of abdomen, smaller size scattered over dorsum becoming increasingly smaller and more slender anteriorly; tubular ducts abundant, most quinquelocular pore clusters with 1 or 2 associated tubular ducts; ventral wide-rimmed quinquelocular pore clusters absent from medial areas of thorax and abdomen; ventral narrow-rimmed quinquelocular pores sometimes abundant in medial areas of thorax and abdomen; anterior portion of anal ring without sclerotization. Other characters: Hind femur with large translucent pores; antennae 7-segmented; quinquelocular pores arranged in clusters; anal ring without setae.


Dactylopius tomentosus seems to be most similar to D. confusus by having numerous tubular ducts, 2 distinct sizes of enlarged setae, and no ventral wide-rimmed pore clusters in medial areas of thorax and abdomen. Dactylopius tomentosus differs by having large sized dorsal setae present on abdomen and thorax (confined to posterior 2 or 3 abdominal segments on D. confusus) and by having anterior portion or anal ring represented by narrow sclerotization (no sclerotization on D. tomentosus).

U.S. quarantine notes

This species was intercepted once at U. S. ports-of-entry between 1995 and 2012, originating from Mexico. We also have examined specimens taken in quarantine from Mexico (Opuntia). ScaleNet includes hosts in the genera Cereus and Opuntia in the Cactaceae from all zoogeographic regions except the Oriental region. The species seems to prefer columnar species of Opuntia. No species of Dactylopius other than D. coccus Costa, D. confusus (Cockerell), D. opuntiae (Cockerell), and D. tomentosus have been taken at U. S. ports-of-entry.

Important references

DeLott1974a; Gill1993; Mann1969; PerezGKo1992.

Scalenet catalog and citation list

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