Two lytic viruses specific for Chrysochromulina ericina (Prymnesiophyceae) and for Pyramimonas orientalis (Prasinophyceae) were isolated from Norwegian coastal waters in June 1998. The lytic cycle was 14-19 h for both viruses; the burst size was estimated at 1800-4100 viruses per host cell for the Chrysochromulina virus and 800-1000 for the Pyramimonas virus. Thin sections of infected cells show that both viruses replicate in the cytoplasm and that they have a hexagonal cross section, indicating icosahedral symmetry. The Chrysochromulina virus had a particle size of 160 nm and a genome size of 510 kbp; the size of the major polypeptide was 73 kDa. The Pyramimonas virus had a particle size of 220 x 180 nm and a genome size of 560 kbp; the size of the major polypeptide was 44 kDa. The genome sizes of these viruses are among the largest ever reported for viruses and they are larger than the minimum required for cellular life. The Chrysochromulina virus clone CeV-01B and the Pyramimonas virus clone PoV-01B described in this study have several properties in common with other viruses infecting microalgae, suggesting that they belong to the Phycodnaviridae.