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Keywords:

  • back-scattered electron imaging;
  • secondary ion mass spectrometry;
  • proton induced X-ray emission;
  • SEM-X-ray microanalysis;
  • metal-replete cuticle;
  • manganese;
  • zinc

Metal-replete cuticle was characterised by back-scattered electron imaging, secondary ion mass spectrometry, proton induced X-ray emission and SEM-X-ray microanalysis. Each technique was found to have singular advantages and limitations for localising and quantifying metal content. Manganese and zinc were found coincident at the mandibular cutting edge of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens; these two metals were found in different zones within jaws of the ragworm, Nereis virens; while only manganese was found in the jaws of the termite C. cumulans.