The cricket paralysis virus (CrPV), a member of the CrPV-like virus family, contains a single positive-stranded RNA genome that encodes two non-overlapping open reading frames separated by a short intergenic region (IGR). The CrPV IGR contains an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES) that directs the expression of structural proteins. Unlike previously described IRESs, the IGR IRES initiates translation by recruiting 80S ribosomes in the absence of initiator Met-tRNA(i) or any canonical initiation factors, from a GCU alanine codon located in the A-site of the ribosome. Here, we have shown that a variety of mutations, designed to disrupt individually three pseudoknot (PK) structures and alter highly conserved nucleotides among the CrPV-like viruses, inhibit IGR IRES-mediated translation. By separating the steps of translational initiation into ribosomal recruitment, ribosomal positioning and ribosomal translocation, we found that the mutated IRES elements could be grouped into two classes. One class, represented by mutations in PKII and PKIII, bound 40S subunits with significantly reduced affinity, suggesting that PKIII and PKII are involved in the initial recruitment of the ribosome. A second class of mutations, exemplified by alterations in PKI, did not affect 40S binding but altered the positioning of the ribosome on the IRES, indicating that PKI is involved in the correct positioning of IRES-associated ribosomes. These results suggest that the IGR IRES has distinct pseudoknot-like structures that make multiple contacts with the ribosome resulting in initiation factor-independent recruitment and correct positioning of the ribosome on the mRNA.