from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Plural form of haltere.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n.pl. Balancers; the rudimentary hind wings of Diptera.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Plural of halter.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Historians of the ancient Olympics have always questioned how hand-held weights called halteres depicted on many Greek vases and found at sporting sites all over Greece were used.
All this is possible because of two small, vibrating sense organs called halteres, which millions of years ago evolved from what used to be a pair of hind wings.
(ultrabithorax) that enables it to develop "halteres," or balancers.
The sense organs at the base of halteres are very similar – another piece of evidence that halteres are modified wings.
What would the intermediate stages between wings and halteres have looked like, and why would natural selection have favoured the intermediates?
Testifying to the same story, there are mutant fruit flies, so-called homeotic mutants, whose embryology is abnormal and who grow not halteres but a second pair of wings, like a bee or any other kind of insect.
How do we know that halteres are descended from ancestral wings?
W. S. Pringle, my old Oxford professor whose forbidding mien and stiff bearing earned him the nickname ‘Laughing John’, was mainly responsible for working out how halteres work.
The second pair of wings has become reduced to a pair of ‘halteres’.
Long before halteres evolved, the information streaming into the nervous system from the sense organs at their base would enable fast buzzing wings, while flying, to act as rudimentary gyroscopes.
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