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(invertebrate zoology)
One of the two sclerotized or leathery anterior wings of beetles which serve to cover and protect the membranous hindwings.
A dorsal scale of certain Polychaeta.



one of the anterior wings that in most insects cover the posterior wings when the latter are folded along the dorsal wall of the body. Beetles have thickened elytra with practically no evidence of venation. The elytra of the Dictyoptera and Orthoptera are leathery and have noticeable or pronounced venation. Some insects, such as earwigs, have veinless elytra. In bedbugs, only the base of each elytron is thickened; the tip is membranous.

Elytra that are particularly thick no longer function as active organs of flight, becoming merely carrying surfaces (as in the June beetle), or play no role in flight at all (for example, the Cetonia). Many beetles in desert regions have greatly reduced posterior wings, and their elytra, as a rule, have fused to form a solid cover over the abdomen. The cavity under the elytra is exposed to the external atmosphere by a small opening at the top of the abdomen. Spiracles open into the cavity; the air in the cavity is heavily saturated with water vapor to minimize water loss during respiration. In many water beetles, for example the Dytiscidae, the cavity stores air, which the beetle can breathe as it swims through the water.


References in periodicals archive ?
Terminal antennomere elongate-oval--subgenus Falsoorphinus (each elytron with large humeral orange spot, not reaching suture and with orange spot in apical part Orphinus (F.
Integument of dorsal surface brown; apical spot small, occupying less than 1/3 of each elytron 7
Elytron will begin flight testing this summer in Northern CA.
Males possess a well-developed file on the left elytron a), with a relatively underdeveloped file on the right elytron b).
elytron with basal gibbosity elevated to strongly elevated; striae 3 and 4 curved basad; striae 7-9 limited basally by humeral gibbosity usually elevated; interestriae 3, 5, 7 and 9 with or without conspicuous gibbosities; interstria 10 with basal sulcus (figs.
5 wider than long; concave, with large and elevated tooth on each lateroposterior side; Each elytron twice as long as wide, each with base of striae 3-4 closer than others, base of 2nd stria with small denticle and base of striae 3-4 with larger denticles; striae with coarse punctations connected by deep row; humerus rugouse (Fig.