Animal genomes commonly contain genes or sequences that have been acquired from different types of viruses. The vast majority of these endogenous virus elements (EVEs) are inactive or consist of only a small number of components that show no evidence of cooption for new functions or interaction. Unlike most EVEs, bracoviruses (BVs), ichnoviruses (IVs) and virus-like particles (VLPs) in parasitoid wasps have evolved through retention and interaction of many genes from virus ancestors. Here, we discuss current understanding of BV, IV and VLP evolution along with associated implications for what constitutes a virus. We suggest that BVs and IVs are domesticated endogenous viruses (DEVs) that differ in several important ways from other known EVEs.