The function of resilin in beetle wings

Proc Biol Sci. 2000 Jul 22;267(1451):1375-81. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2000.1153.


This account shows the distribution of elastic elements in hind wings in the scarabaeid Pachnoda marginata and coccinellid Coccinella septempunctata (both Coleoptera). Occurrence of resilin, a rubber-like protein, in some mobile joints together with data on wing unfolding and flight kinematics suggest that resilin in the beetle wing has multiple functions. First, the distribution pattern of resilin in the wing correlates with the particular folding pattern of the wing. Second, our data show that resilin occurs at the places where extra elasticity is needed, for example in wing folds, to prevent material damage during repeated folding and unfolding. Third, resilin provides the wing with elasticity in order to be deformable by aerodynamic forces. This may result in elastic energy storage in the wing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coleoptera / metabolism
  • Coleoptera / physiology*
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Insect Proteins / physiology*
  • Wings, Animal / anatomy & histology
  • Wings, Animal / physiology


  • Insect Proteins
  • resilin