The nuclear polyhedrosis virus DNAs characterized and compared in this study consist of the singly-enveloped nucleocapsids (SNPV) of Trichoplusia ni and the bundles of nucleocapsids common to a single envelope (MNPV) from Spodoptera frugiperda and Rachiplusia ou. The SNPV and MNPV DNAs are very similar in hydrodynamic properties and molecular weights. In addition, the NPV DNAs are similar in size to those extracted from the granulosis viruses that infect T. ni and S. frugiperda. As isolated from purified virus or directly from occluded virus, the nuclear polyhedrosis virus DNAs consist of a mixture of about 20 to 30% double-stranded covalently closed molecules and approximately 60% relaxed circles, with less than 10% in linear duplex form. The molecular weights of all nuclear polyhedrosis virus DNAs as compared in this study are slightly smaller than those of T4 bacteriophage DNA and perhaps slightly smaller than those of the granulosis virus DNAs. The best estimates of these molecular weights by neutral sucrose sedimentation for the nuclear polyhedrosis viruses range from 90 to 100 x 10(6) relative to a size of 108 x 10(6) for T4 DNA. The base compositions of the nuclear polyhedrosis viruses that infect T. ni and S. frugiperda are compared with the respective insect host DNAs.