AskDefine | Define elytron

Dictionary Definition

elytron n : either of the horny front wings in beetles and some other insects which cover and protect the functional hind wings [syn: wing case] [also: elytra (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



From ‘sheath’.




  1. A sheath or outer covering, especially around the spinal cord or over the hindwings of certain insects.
    • 1997: In a corner, the Darkling Beetle rustles in its Cage, its Elytra the same unforgiving white as the great sand-waste call’d ‘Kalahari’ lying north of here — Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon

Extensive Definition

An elytron (plural: elytra) is a modified, hardened forewing of certain insect orders, notably beetles (Coleoptera) and true bugs (Hemiptera). An elytron is sometimes also referred to as a shard.
The elytra primarily serve as protection for the hindwings underneath, which are used for flying. In some groups, the elytra are fused together, rendering the insect flightless. Some of the ground beetles (family Carabidae) are a good example of this.
The term is also used to describe the hard scales of some polychaete worms, notably the Polynoidae. These outgrowths of the body wall are distinguished from chaeta, which grow from follicles and thus possess roots.


elytron in Breton: Adeskell
elytron in Bulgarian: Елитра
elytron in Czech: Krovky
elytron in German: Deckflügel
elytron in Modern Greek (1453-): Έλυτρα
elytron in Spanish: Élitro
elytron in French: Élytre
elytron in Icelandic: Þekjuvængir
elytron in Italian: Elitra
elytron in Latin: Elytra
elytron in Dutch: Dekschild
elytron in Japanese: 鞘翅
elytron in Portuguese: Élitro
elytron in Finnish: Peitinsiipi
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1