The hypothesis that ITS structural features can be used to define fungal groups, where sequence analysis is unsatisfactory, was examined in plant and animal pathogenic fungi. Structural models of ITS1 regions were predicted for presumed closely related species in Colletotrichum and Trichophyton anamorphs of Arthroderma species. Structural alignment of models and comparison with ITS sequence analysis identified a variable region in a conserved hairpin formed from a common inverted repeat. Thirteen different hairpin structure models were obtained for Colletotrichum species and five different models were obtained for Trichophyton species. The different structure types could be matched to individual species and species complexes as defined by ITS sequence analysis.