image EL_L3_62_Fig
Image number: RS.15800
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Observations of the cochineal (scale insect)


21 March 1704


Unknown, Artist

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 224mm
width (page): 174mm



11 figures in a letter by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to the Royal Society.

Fig. 1: the true size of a cochineal grain
Fig. 2: the same cochineal magnified
Fig. 3: an egg as taken out of the cochineal (observed with stronger magnifying glass than fig. 2)
Fig. 4: an unborn cochineal in the egg, but with the egg shells removed
Fig. 5: small part of the vessels of the ovary
Fig. 6: another unborn cochineal with the egg shell removed
Fig. 7: an animalcule with the egg shell removed
Fig. 8: an animalcule on glass, two days after it was taken out of the egg. It dried out and two legs had fallen off.
Fig. 9: KLM shows a small part of the blood vessels, and NOP shows animalcule with its six legs.
Fig. 10: a prickle from an opuntia ficus-indica, the Indian fig or prickly pear
Fig. 11: another animalcule with four legs visible and two antennae.

Object history

The Journal Book mentions on 5 April 1704, 'A letter was read of Mr Leeuwenhoeck, concerning Cochinele, proving it to be an Insect' (JBO/11/47).

Printed in A. Leeuwenhoek, ‘Concerning cochineal’, Phil. Trans. vol. 24, no. 292 (July and August 1704), pp. 1614-28. Figs 1-11.

Related Fellows

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723, Dutch), Naturalist

Associated place

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