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 genera Orthotospovirus (family Tospoviridae), Emaravirus (family Fimoviridae), and Tenuivirus (family Phenuiviridae). 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 Bunyavirales: