Beetle elytra

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Duct flute
MFA# 1986.602


Unfinished bag
MFA# 52.1339

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.

Beetle elytra, details

Synonyms and Related Terms

beetle wing; elytron (singular)

Additional Images

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Victoria Rivers, 'Beetles in Textiles" BugBios, Issue 2, February 1994 LINK
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • 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

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