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Learned borrowing from Ancient Greek ἔλυτρον (élutron, sheath).



elytron (plural elytra)

  1. A sheath or outer covering, especially around the spinal cord or over the hindwings of certain insects.
    • 1997, Thomas Pynchon, chapter 9, in Mason & Dixon, 1st US edition, New York: Henry Holt and Company, →ISBN, part One: Latitudes and Departures, page 88:
      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 []
    • 2020, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, →ISBN, page 9:
      [] the elytra covering the hind wings of the firefly lift like a light leather, suppler than any other beetle’s.