White tail disease of the farmed freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, is the cause of mortalities in the French West Indies, China and India. Two different sized particles, both developing in the cytoplasm of target cells, are found associated with diseased animals. These two viruses were separated, purified and subsequently characterized. The larger one, called MrNV, is icosahedral in shape and 27 nm in diameter. Its genome is composed of two fragments of linear single-stranded RNA (ss-RNA), of 2.9 and 1.3 kb, respectively and its capsids exhibited a single polypeptide of 43 kDa. These characteristics and the partial sequence of a cloned fragment of RNA-1 suggest this agent is a member of the family Nodaviridae, but with differences from both the genera Alphanodavirus and Betanodavirus. The smaller virus, named XSV, is icosahedral in shape, 15 nm in diameter, possesses a linear ss-RNA genome of about 0.9 kb, and its capsid exhibits two polypeptides of 16 and 17 kDa, respectively. The relationships between these two viruses remain unknown.