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.cite book
author = Brusca, R.C.
coauthors = Brusca, G.J.
year = 1990
title = Invertebrates
] These outgrowths of the body wall are distinguished from chaeta, which grow from follicles and thus possess roots.cite journal
author = Butterfield, N.J.
year =
title = Exceptional Fossil Preservation and the Cambrian Explosion
journal = Integrative and Comparative Biology
volume = 43
issue = 1
pages = 166–177
doi = 10.1668/1540-7063(2003)043 [0166EFPATC] 2
doi_brokendate = 2008-06-21


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  • Elytron — El y*tron (?; 277), Elytrum El y*trum ( tr?m)n.; pl. {Elytra}. [NL., fr. Gr. ?, fr. ? to roll round.] (Zo[ o]l.) (a) One of the anterior pair of wings in the Coleoptera and some other insects, when they are thick and serve only as a protection… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Elytron — (gr.), Hülle, Futteral, Scheide, Mutterscheide; daher Elytrasesie, Verwachsung der Scheide, Mangel der Mutlerscheidenössnung. Elytritis, Scheidenentzündung, Gonorrhöe des weiblichen Geschlechts. Elytroblennorrhöa, Leukorrhoa der Scheide.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Elytron — (griech.), Hülle, Scheide, Decke, bei spätern Schriftstellern auch soviel wie Mutterscheide; Elytritis, Scheidenentzündung; Elytroblennorrhoe, Scheidenschleimhautfluß; Elytrocele, Scheidenbruch; Elytroncus, Scheidengeschwulst; Elytroptosis,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • elytron — [el′itrəm] n. pl. elytra [el′itrəel′i trän΄] n. elytra [el′itrə] [ModL < Gr a covering, sheath < IE * welutrom < base * wel , to roll > WALK] either of the front pair of modified, usually thickened, wings in certain insects, esp.… …   English World dictionary

  • Elytron — Ely|tron 〈n.; s, Ely|tren〉 = Deckflügel [<grch. elytron „Hülle, Futteral, Behälter“] * * * Ely|tron, das; s, Elytren [griech. élytron] (Zool.): Deckflügel …   Universal-Lexikon

  • elytron — n.; pl. tra [Gr. elytron, sheath] 1. (ANNELIDA: Polychaeta) The numerous modified setae in the form of scales or plates. 2. (ARTHROPODA: Insecta) A thickened, leathery, or horny fore wing or wing cover of certain insects; see hemelytron. 3.… …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • elytron — elytrous /el i treuhs/, adj. /el i tron /, n., pl. elytra / treuh/. one of the pair of hardened forewings of certain insects, as beetles, forming a protective covering for the posterior or flight wings. Also called wing case, wing cover. See diag …   Universalium

  • Elytron — Ely|tron das; s, ...tren (meist Plur.) <aus gr. élytron »Hülle«> zur Schutzdecke umgewandelter Vorderflügel der Käfer, Wanzen, Grillen u. a …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • elytron — el•y•tron [[t]ˈɛl ɪˌtrɒn[/t]] n. pl. tra ( trə). ent one of the pair of hardened forewings of certain insects, as beetles, forming a protective covering for the rear wings • Etymology: 1745–55; < NL < Gk élytron lit., cover, case, akin to… …   From formal English to slang

  • elytron — noun (plural elytra) Etymology: New Latin, from Greek, sheath, wing cover, from eilyein to roll, wrap more at voluble Date: 1774 one of the anterior wings in beetles and some other insects that serve to protect the posterior pair of functional… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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