The hard exoskeleton composed of chitin that covers the wings of a beetle (Coleopter). Elytra provide protection from heat, wind, and moisture evaporation allowing beetles to live in adverse conditions, such as a desert environment. Beetles typically have two wings folded under a pair of elytra that meet in the center of the back and usually extend to the tip of the abdomen. Beetle elytra are often have bright jewel-tone colors. Many also have an iridescence due to the interference of light between the multiple layers of chitin.
Synonyms and Related Terms
beetle wing; elytron (singular)
Victoria Rivers, 'Beetles in Textiles" BugBios, Issue 2, February 1994 (LINK)
Sources Checked for Data in Record
- The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
- Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: Dermestid beetle. Retrieved May 29, 2003, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service.
- Lynda A. Zycherman, J.Richard Schrock, A Guide to Museum Pest Control, FAIC and Association of Systematics Collections, Washington DC, 1988
- Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986