During 2001-2008, systematical investigations of macrozoobenthos in 31 Yangtze floodplain lakes and Wuhan reach of the mainstream were carried out. The results are mainly as follows: (1) Using macrozoobenthos as well as environmental characteristics, the investigated waterbodies are divided into five types, i.e. river-connected lakes, oxbow lakes, macrophytic lakes, macrophytic-algal transition lakes and algal lakes. (2) Macrozoobenthic assemblages in the Yangtze-connected lakes were characterized by high diversity, high bivalve-filterer abundance and high production. Macrozoobenthos assemblages of oxbows were similar to those of river-isolated lakes in the composition of standing crops, dominated by gastropods and aquatic insects, but were richer in potamophilic and psychrophilic taxa. Small-sized epiphytic animals were predominant in macrophytic lakes, and pollute-tolerant animals were predominant in algal lakes. (3) The primary influencing factor of macrozoobenthic assemblages in the floodplain lakes was hydrological disturbance; the secondary factor was trophic status. Along two environmental gradients, three types of response patterns were demonstrated. At an intermediate level of hydrological disturbance, macrozoobenthos not only peaks in species richness, but also reach maxima in biomass and production. (4) Living habits of macrozoobenthos are divided into four patterns, i.e. pollute-tolerant, epiphytic, potamophilic and widespread. (5) Weighted useable area (WUA) of macrozoobenthos in Wuhan reach peaked when discharge was 21000 m3/s. In this study, holistic characteristics of macrozoobenthic assemblages in the Yangtze floodplain waters have been comprehensively and systematically described; the hypothesis that biomass and production of total macrozoobenthos reach maxima at an intermediate level of hydrological disturbance has been proposed.