Transition metals are essential nutrients to virtually all forms of life, including bacterial pathogens. In Staphylococcus aureus, metal ions participate in diverse biochemical processes such as metabolism, DNA synthesis, regulation of virulence factors, and defense against oxidative stress. As an innate immune response to bacterial infection, vertebrate hosts sequester transition metals in a process that has been termed "nutritional immunity." To successfully infect vertebrates, S. aureus must overcome host sequestration of these critical nutrients. The objective of this review is to outline the current knowledge of staphylococcal metal ion acquisition systems, as well as to define the host mechanisms of nutritional immunity during staphylococcal infection.