Microsporum is a genus of fungi that causes tinea capitis, tinea corpus, ringworm, and other dermatophytoses (fungal infections of the skin). Microsporum forms both macroconidia (large asexual reproductive structures) and microconidia (smaller asexual reproductive structures) on short conidiophores. Macroconidia are hyaline, multiseptate, variable in form, fusiform, spindle-shaped to obovate, 7–20 by 30–160 um in size, with thin or thick echinulate to verrucose cell walls. Their shape, size and cell wall features are important characteristics for species identification. Microconidia are hyaline, single-celled, pyriform to clavate, smooth-walled, 2.5–3.5 by 4–7 um in size and are not diagnostic for any one species.
The separation of this genus from Trichophyton is essentially based on the roughness of the macroconidial cell wall, although in practice this may sometimes be difficult to observe. Seventeen species of Microsporum have been described; however, only the more common species are included in these descriptions.
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