An elytron (/ˈɛlaɪtrɒn/; from Greek ἔλυτρον "sheath, cover"; plural: elytra /-trə/)[1][2] is a modified, hardened forewing of certain insect orders, notably beetles (Coleoptera) and a few of the true bugs (Hemiptera); in most true bugs, the forewings are instead called hemelytra (sometimes alternatively spelled as "hemielytra"), as only the basal half is thickened while the apex is membranous. An elytron is sometimes also referred to as a shard.

The elytra of this cockchafer beetle are readily distinguished from the transparent hindwings.
Heteroptera Morphology - English Labels
Parts of the hemelytra of a typical bug


The elytra primarily serve as protective wing-cases for the hindwings underneath, which are used for flying. To fly, a beetle typically opens the elytra and then extends the hindwings, flying while still holding the elytra open, though some beetles in the families Scarabaeidae and Buprestidae can fly with the elytra closed.

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.[3] These outgrowths of the body wall are distinguished from chaeta, which grow from follicles and thus possess roots.[4]


  1. ^ Michelle Gleeson (2016), Miniature Lives: Identifying Insects in Your Home and Garden, Csiro Publishing, p. 313, ISBN 9781486301386
  2. ^ Augustus Radcliffe Grote (1909), Canadian Entomologist, 41, Entomological Society of Canada
  3. ^ Brusca, R. C.; Brusca, G. J. (1990). Invertebrates.
  4. ^ Butterfield, N. J. (2003). "Exceptional Fossil Preservation and the Cambrian Explosion". Integrative and Comparative Biology. 43 (1): 166–177. doi:10.1093/icb/43.1.166. PMID 21680421.

Aepus is a genus of ground beetles of the subfamily Trechinae. Distributed in France, on Canary Islands and the archipelago Madeira in Spain, Albania, UK, Ireland, Norway and Sweden.

Representatives of this genus are characterized by the following features:

Adults are less than 2.5 mm;

Eyes are rudimentary;

Elytron have a few erect hairs.

Amphizoa davidis

Amphizoa davidis is a species of beetle in the Amphizoidae family. Bodylength between 11–16 mm the elytron lack a carina on fifth interval. Pronotum have a lateral margin without lateral bead. Only known from the province Sichuan of in especially in China.

Amphizoa lecontei

Amphizoa lecontei is a species of aquatic beetle. Adults have a body length between 11-16mm. Its elytron has a distinct carina on fifth interval. Found in western North America, especially in the Rocky Mountains.. Its common name is "Trout-stream beetle". Its synonym is Amphizoa carinata.

Berosus pantherinus

Berosus pantherinus is a species of hydrophilid beetles native to the United States. It was originally described by John Lawrence LeConte in 1855 and is characterized by having ten dark spots on each elytron.


Cardiosyne is an extinct genus of click beetles from the Triassic of Argentina.

C. obesaIt is the type species of the genus. The type specimen is an elytron with record number PULR-I 324. Its type locality is Picos Gemelos (5th cycle), which is in a Carnian lacustrine - large claystone in the Los Rastros Formation of Argentina.

C. elegansThe type specimen is an elytron with record number PULR-I 312. Its type locality is Rio Gualo (5th cycle), which is in a Carnian lacustrine - large claystone in the Los Rastros Formation of Argentina.

Chilocorus stigma

Chilocorus stigma, commonly known as the twice-stabbed ladybug, is a native resident of the United States and Canada but does not live west of the Sierra Nevada.. It also has been introduced to Hawaii. It is shiny black, and there is one red spot on each elytron. The remainder of the body is black as well, but the abdomen is either yellow or red. It is sometimes confused with the "two-stabbed lady beetle", Chilocorus orbus, which is widespread in California.

Elytron (journal)

Elytron is a Spain-based journal for specialists in coleopterology (the study of beetles).

It was first published in 1987.

Epilachna borealis

Epilachna borealis is a species of beetle that can commonly be found in the eastern United States. It is yellow with seven large black spots on each elytron and four small black spots on the pronotum. The species feeds on cucurbitaceous plants. Its common name is Squash beetle.

Geotrupes stercorarius

Geotrupes stercorarius is a species of earth-boring dung beetle, common name Dor.

The beetle is up to 2.5 cm (1 in) long. The whole beetle is weakly lustrous and darkly colored, sometimes with a bluish sheen. The body shape is very compact and arched toward the top. On each elytron seven long rows of points are just visible. The head is clearly forward, and similar to a shovel in shape. The antennae are short and thicken into fans at the ends. On each leg there are numerous spikes.

The beetle is coprophagous, feeding on the droppings of herbivorous animals, and thus is found wherever cattle are kept. In the evenings, one can observe them closely circle around the animals on the ground. They create a chirping sound with their hind legs. In the spring, a male and female dig a passage in the earth under a heap of dung, which can be up to 50 cm (20 in) in length. From this the female digs side passages. Into each of these a piece of dung is brought, and an egg is laid. Afterwards, the chamber is closed off with more dung. The larvae which hatch from the eggs feed on the dung for a year, and then pupate. The adult beetles emerge from the pupae.


Gymnopleurini is a tribe of scarab beetles, in the dung beetle subfamily (Scarabaeinae). The side edge of each elytron (hardened fore-wing protecting the hind-wing) has a characteristic shape that exposed the underlying pleural sclerites (side plates of the abdomen). Relative to other dung beetles they are of moderate size (10–18 mm long).

Hoangus venustus

Hoangus venustus, commonly known as the flax ladybird, is a species of ladybird beetle that is native to New Zealand, being found at least in the North Island. It can be found on New Zealand flax (Phormium) and Toetoe (cutty grass), reportedly eating the mealybugs that live there. Previously known as Cassiculus venustus, the valid name of the species is now Hoangus venustus.The species' colouration is black and orange: its head is orange on each side with black running down the middle, while its elytra or wing cases (which cover the back) are orange around the edge with black covering much of the area. It has four orange dots on this black area, two on each elytron. It is about 4 mm long from the tip of the head to the end of the abdomen (description based on a life-size photo in Andrew Crowe's Which New Zealand Insect).


Lymnastis is a genus of ground beetles of the subfamily Trechinae.

The body length of the adult is 2.0–2.2 millimetres (0.079–0.087 in). Body-color is yellow and flat. Representatives of this genus are characterized by the following features:

Head is small and narrow;

Compound eyes are usually large and are made up of about ten of the facet cells;

Frontal supraorbital notch is reduced;

Prischitkovaya groove on top is not bent;

The elytron have fine hairs and have no return grooves;

Vertex of the Abdomen appears from the elytron;

The upper body is covered in soft hairs.It contains the following species:

Lymnastis adventitius (Peringuey, 1896)

Lymnastis americanus Darlington, 1934

Lymnastis atricapillus Bates, 1892

Lymnastis barbieri Straneo, 1953

Lymnastis coomani Jeannel, 1932

Lymnastis decorsei Jeannel, 1932

Lymnastis dieneri Szekessy, 1938

Lymnastis foveicollis G.Muller, 1941

Lymnastis galilaeus Piochard de la Brullerie, 1876

Lymnastis gaudini Jeannel, 1929

Lymnastis gomerae Franz, 1965

Lymnastis herlanti Basilewsky, 1951

Lymnastis indicus (Motschulsky, 1851)

Lymnastis inops Darlington, 1962

Lymnastis jeanneli Basilewsky, 1951

Lymnastis leleupi Basilewsky, 1949

Lymnastis lesnei Jeannel, 1932

Lymnastis luigionii Dodero, 1899

Lymnastis macrops Jeannel, 1932

Lymnastis meersmanae Basilewsky, 1951

Lymnastis minutus Basilewsky, 1953

Lymnastis niloticus Motschulsky, 1862

Lymnastis pilosus Bates, 1892

Lymnastis pullulus Motschulsky, 1862

Lymnastis remyi Jeannel, 1949

Lymnastis rugegeiensis Basilewsky, 1953

Lymnastis sanctaehelenae Basilewsky, 1972

Lymnastis scaritides Bruneau De Mire, 1965

Lymnastis schachti Baehr, 2003

Lymnastis schoutedeni Jeannel, 1937

Lymnastis subovatus Machado, 1992

Lymnastis sugimotoi Habu, 1975

Lymnastis swaluwenbergi Jeannel, 1932

Lymnastis tescorum Arnoldi & Kryzhanovskij, 1964

Lymnastis thoracicus Machado, 1992

Lymnastis tibesticus Bruneau De Mire, 1990

Lymnastis villiersi Bruneau De Mire, 1965

Lymnastis yanoi Nakane, 1963

Madarellus undulatus

Madarellus undulatus is a species of weevils belonging to the Baridinae subfamily. It is 2.8–4.5 millimetres (0.11–0.18 in) long and have brown coloured head and black or sometimes reddish body. The prothorax is glossy and somewhat punctate with striate elytron. M. undulatus can be found in both Canada (Ontario and Quebec) and everywhere in the United States.


Metrioxenini (metrioxenines) are a tribe of belids, primitive weevils of the family Belidae, containing about 30 species. They are only found in two widely separated areas, Southeast Asia extending to Indonesia, and South Africa. In the Paleogene, they were found at least in North America and Europe also, occurring perhaps across the entire Northern Hemisphere.As in other belids, their antennae are straight, not elbowed as in the true weevils (Curculionidae). They are far less characteristic than their presumed closest living relatives, the Aglycyderini. They can be recognized by the sharp-sided rostrum ("snout"). Also, their eyes are bordered by a wide and ridged groove. Metrioxena shows two sharp ribs on each elytron, which are absent in the other genera. These, by contrast, have their tarsal claws fused together at the base (they are unfused in Metrioxena) and grooves on the pygidium which are absent in Metrioxena.


Oxelytrum is a genus of burying beetles or carrion beetles belonging to the family Silphidae.

Species in this genus have three ridges on each elytron, without hairs on the pronotal disk.

They are usually black with reddish markings and have 3-segmented antennal clubs. Most species are nocturnal and are mainly confined to South America.

Stenalia cechovskyi

Stenalia cechovskyi is a beetle in the genus Stenalia of the family Mordellidae. It was described by Jan Horák in 2006 and is endemic to Malaysia where it was discovered in Cameron Highlands. The species is black in colour and have dark yellow elytron.

Stenalia jakli

Stenalia jakli is a beetle in the genus Stenalia of the family Mordellidae. It was described in 2006 by Horák on Sumba island in Indonesia. The species' metatibia and elytron are black in colour. The name derived from Stanislav Jákl, an entomologist who worked with Horák.

Stenelmis gammoni

Stenelmis gammoni is a species of beetles in the riffle beetle family, Elmidae. It is known by the common name Gammon's riffle beetle.The beetle is native to the United States. It was first described from the New River in North Carolina in 1976. Its total distribution is still unclear, but it has been found in Virginia and Alabama as well.The specimens used in the original species description were dark brown to black beetles with elongated, convex bodies measuring between 2 and 3 millimetres (0.079 and 0.118 in) long. Each elytron has two spots.

Stenocorus schaumii

Stenocorus schaumii is a species of beetle of the family Cerambycidae that is 17–29 millimetres (0.67–1.14 in) long. The colour is either black or brownish-red. Like other members of the genus, it has wide shoulders and tuberculated sides of the pronotum, with wrinkled elytron. Their larvae feed on Fraxinus, maple, and other hardwood plants.


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