Insect wings are unique in the animal kingdom, and they have exploited a number of design and material properties that make some of them the most versatile and manoeuvrable of all flying machines. Thus, they are intriguing targets for material biomimicry. We used X-ray fluorescence spectromicroscopy to examine the distribution and speciation of Mg and Na in a yellow jacket wasp wing. The veins compared to the membranes contained the highest amount of Na and Mg but the elemental content varied considerably between the veins. The Mg speciation in the wing indicated that Mg was coordinated to both C and Na beyond the first shell, whereas the Na speciation indicated it was predominantly coordinated to Mg and/or Na beyond the first shell. Knowledge on the distribution and speciation of Na and Mg could provide insight and understanding into the functional significance and evolutionary history of Na and Mg in insect wings.

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