2003 Volume 44 Issue 1 Pages 31-38
An epidemiological survey of Trichophyton mentagrophytes var. erinacei in the household hedgehog and other rodents was made between January 17, 2002 and February 28, 2002 in Japan. Quills and hairs were collected from sources identified via the internet. The fungus was isolated only from the quills of four-toed hedgehogs (7/18; 39%) from Kanto to Kyushu regions. Isolates were examined morphologically, physiologically and genetically, and identified as T. mentagrophytes var. erinacei anamorph. The isolates were also genetically compared with European hedgehog (Erinaceus europeus)-borne T. mentagrophytes var. erinacei and Kenyan hedgehog (Aterelix albiventris)-borne Arthroderma benhamiae, and their genotypes of the ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 rDNA were all identical. The isolates were crossed with A. benhamiae Americano-European race and African race, A. vanbreuseghemii and A. simii, with the result that they mated only with African race (+) or (-). Mating types of the isolates were (+) in 6 isolates and (-) in one. An intra-isolate mating between one of the 6 plus isolates and the minus one formed abundant mature gymnothesia, the mating type ratio of the F1 progeny was approximately 1:1, and the sib crossings of F1 progeny produced abundant fertile gymnothesia. The present study revealed that the intra-Japanese hedgehog-borne isolate crossing showed complete fertility and that the sexual degeneration pointed out by Takashio (Mycologia 71: 968-976, 1979) did not exist. Two pairs of mating, (+) and (-) mating types of Japanese isolates with (-) and (+) tester strains of A. benhamiae African race formed less gymnothesia, mating type ratios were unbalanced, and sib crossings of F1 progeny produced small gymnothesia containing a low number of asci, pseudogymothesia, or none, respectively. These results show that A. benhamiae var. erinacei, the teleomorph of T. mentagrophytes var. erinacei, belongs to a different mating group (e. g. hedgehog race) than the Americano-European and African races in A. benhamiae.