The family includes viruses with a single-stranded and segmented RNA genome. The members mainly infect vertebrates and some are serious human pathogens. A small number of members are plant viruses, mainly from the genus Orthotospovirus. They are transmitted by mites and insects.
The particles are spherical with a diameter of around 100 nm. The genome consists of a large, medium and small RNA molecule. The large and medium RNA segments are negative sense while the small segment is ambisense. The RNA molecules form non-covalently closed circles and in total contain between 10,000 and 20,000 nucleotides.
The following genera are currently entered under Bunyaviridae: