Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Very little is known of the ecology of keratinophilic fungi in animal populations and their habitats in South Dakota. Recent investigation of an outbreak of ringworm in blue foxes on a fur farm in South Dakota indicated that the source of infection may have been wild animals which had been captured and raised in the kennels previous to occupancy by the foxes. In recent years, a number of investigators have demonstrated that small and large mammals may carry keratinophilic fungi in their coats (13, 29-31, 52, 56-60, 63, 70, 77) and have postulated on the role of infected animals in the transmission of ringworm infections. Keratinophilic fungi are common in a wide range of soils from many areas of the world (3, 5, 37, 64, 78). In the United States keratinophilic fungi have been isolated from soils in Arizona (10), Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee and Virginia (3). South Dakota is a state of infinite variety and affords the opportunity to the ecology of keratinophilic fungi from semi-arid areas to areas of lush foliage. The eastern third of the state .is part of the Central Plains which covers most of Central United States. The middle portion is a pa1--t of the Great Plains, which covers a large area from Canada to Mexico. The third region is the Black Hills, which is a mountainous, forested area near the western border. The presence of buffalo (bison) herds, deer, antelope, prairie dogs, ferrets, skunks, woodchucks, coyotes, badgers, raccoons, ground squirrels, foxes and rabbits affords an unusual and varied source of specimens for examination of keratinophilic fungi. It was the intent of this investigation to determine the distribution of keratinophilic fungi among wild animals and their habitats in all sections of the state of South Dakota. Information gained in this study will provide data not previously available for this area of the United States. The specific objectives of this investigation were: (1) To determine the ecology of keratinophilic fungi in wild animal populations and their habitats in South Dakota. (2) To determine which fungi are the common causes of ringworm in wild animals in South Dakota.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Soil fungi



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University