One of the anterior pair of wings in the Coleoptera and some other insects, when they are thick and serve only as a protection for the posterior pair.
the forewings of Coleoptera (beetles). Elytra are leathery or chitinous covers that serve as protection for the hind wings. The elytra are not used in active flapping during flight, but when the beetle is at rest they normally meet in a straight line down the middle of the dorsum (upper surface). View image
either of the horny front wings in beetles and some other insects which cover and protect the functional hind wings