We examined the distribution and activity of six transposable elements found in the blast fungus, Pyricularia spp. Sixty-eight isolates from various gramineous plants were used for the survey, and the elements were plotted on a dendrogram constructed on the basis of their rDNA-ITS2 sequences. MGR586 and Pot2 (Class II elements), Mg-SINE (SINE-like element) and MGR583 (LINE-like retrotransposon) were widely distributed among the Pyricularia isolates, suggesting that they are old elements which arose in, or invaded, the Pyricularia population at very early stages in its evolution. By contrast, the distribution of the LTR-retrotransposons MAGGY and Grasshopper was limited or sporadic, suggesting that they are relatively new elements which recently invaded the Pyricularia population by means of horizontal transfer events. The activity of these elements was evaluated by Southern analysis in progenies derived from a cross between a Setaria isolate and a Triticum isolate. Many new MAGGY signals were observed, which were absent in the parental isolates, at various stages of the sexual cycle and following vegetative growth. In contrast, the other elements yielded few, if any, such signals. Analysis of the sequences flanking the new MAGGY insertions revealed that they were each associated with a 5-bp target-site duplication at both ends of the insertion. These data suggested that MAGGY was the most active of the elements tested for transposition in Pyricularia.