Family: Parvoviridae

Subfamily: Parvovirinae


Distinguishing features

Viruses in subfamily Parvovirinae infect vertebrates (specifically mammals, birds or reptiles), sometimes in association with other viruses.  There are 8 monophyletic genera (Figure 1. Parvovirinae), five of which include viruses that infect humans. When compared to the divergent nature of viruses in subfamily Densovirinae, members of the Parvovirinae have fairly similar structures and all encode proteins in tandem on a single-sense DNA strand (monosense). 

Genus demarcation criteria

Viruses within a genus are monophyletic and encode replication initiator proteins (called NS1 or Rep1, 68, or 78) that are typically ≥30% identical to each other at the amino acid sequence level but <30% identical to those of other genera, while viruses within a species generally encode NS1 proteins that show >85% amino acid sequence identity. Taxon identity criteria currently in use for subfamily Parvovirinae work well to separate existing genera, but the alignment methods have changed since these guidelines were first adopted, which requires that greater divergence is now accepted in some situations. The resulting phylogeny is supported by additional characteristics, such as patterns of infectivity, genetic strategy, encoded protein motifs and structures, telomere structures and replication details.  

Figure 1. Parvovirinae.  Phylogenetic relationships within the subfamily Parvovirinae. The phylogeny is based on the amino acid sequences of NS1 from a single exemplar isolate from each species in the subfamily, as described in the legend to Figure 5. Parvoviridae. Bootstrap support values of 70% or more are indicated at nodes. This phylogenetic tree and corresponding sequence alignment are available to download from the Resources page. 

Related, unclassified viruses

Virus name

Accession number

Virus abbreviation

Artibius jamaicensis parvovirus 1



seal parvovirus



Virus names and virus abbreviations are not official ICTV designations.