Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nails with broad aetiological scope, and it represents 18–40% of all onychopathies and 39% of all superficial mycotic infections. From July 1996 to December 1999, samples of nails were collected from 588 patients with presumptive diagnosis of onychomycosis at the Dermatology and Mycology Divisions EPM\UNIFESP, Brazil, and the diagnosis was confirmed in 247 of these cases. The most common pathogens isolated in this study were yeasts in 52% of positive cultures (Candida albicans 18.3%, Candida parapsilosis 13.8%, other species of Candida 15.4% and other yeasts 4.6%), followed by dermatophytes in 40.6% of positive cultures (the most commonly isolated organisms were Trichophyton rubrum in 33.2%, followed by Trichophyton mentagrophytes in 6.3% and others 1.2%). Non-dermatophyte moulds were isolated in 7.4% of positive cultures (Fusarium spp. 4.5%, Nattrassia mangiferae 2.3% and Aspergillus spp. 0.6%). Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis (DLSO) was the commonest clinical pattern 44.6% followed by free edge onycholysis (FEO) 38.8% and others. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that T. rubrum is the main agent causing onychomycosis in toenails, and species of genus Candida were the main agents isolated in fingernail onychomycosis in our region.