Somehow I've learnt one day about the actual meaning behind the word "elytra", and somewhat surprised of how little-known this is (despite a hidden article by Mojang describing the origins of using the name for their in-game wings item) -- even though it is a niche of entomology, considering the popularity of Minecraft and awareness of the elytra, its meaning is still very much unseen.
I've discovered that "elytra" is plural for a pair of "elytron", so it is a set of hard wing covers for beetles. In the game, elytra seem to be used as wings functional for flight, rather than protective wing cases.
I notice how many players in videos or texts will refer to the item as singularly (e.g. - "an elytra"), but sometimes neutrally with "the" instead, which seems to work. The only way I could see potential use of the singular reference is as an item, but it still sounds off overall. It's literally as saying "wings" instead of "elytra" in this case, so hearing/reading "a(n) wings" is why it sounds off, unless such as "item" followed ("a wings item"/"an elytra item"). Maybe most don't see it as plural because it doesn't have the typical following of an "s" like "wings"..?
Another yet small instance of usage I've seen is the "Elytrian" Origin from the origins mod concept, which is also interesting -- essentially a "Wingsian" origin, which technically shouldn't be any different than just calling the origin "Beetle", since that's what elytra are based off of (or at least an "End Beetle" origin in this case?) Or it could likely be as any type of flying End-dimensional species -- "Elytrian" is considerably vague.
Does anyone else know about real-world elytra/elytron and noticed this? Any thoughts on the language use of a plural-form body part as an item?