elytra

[el-i-truh]
noun
plural of elytron.
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elytron

[el-i-tron]
noun, plural elytra [el-i-truh] .
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.


Origin:
1745–55; < Neo-Latin < Greek élytron a covering

elytrous [el-i-truhs] , adjective

elytrum

[el-i-truhm]
noun, plural elytra [el-i-truh] . Obsolete.

Origin:
Latinized variant of elytron

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
elytron or elytrum (ˈɛlɪˌtrɒn, ˈɛlɪtrəm)
 
n , pl -tra
either of the horny front wings of beetles and some other insects, which cover and protect the hind wings
 
[C18: from Greek elutron sheath, covering]
 
elytrum or elytrum (ˈɛlɪˌtrɒn, ˈɛlɪtrəm, -trə)
 
n
 
[C18: from Greek elutron sheath, covering]
 
'elytroid or elytrum
 
adj
 
'elytrous or elytrum
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

elytra
1774, pl. of elytron, from Gk. elytron sheath.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
elytron   (ěl'ĭ-trŏn')  Pronunciation Key 


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Plural elytra
Either of the modified forewings of a beetle or related insect that encase the thin hind wings used in flight.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The elytra are marked with distinct white maculations.
Maculations are incomplete and join to form a broad white band along the
  lateral edge of the elytra.
Shiny silvery spots form two irregular bands crossing the elytra.
The sides of the elytra of males are nearly parallel whereas females are
  somewhat more broadly rounded.
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