The macroinvertebrate fauna of twenty-one ponds (thirteen temporary and eight permanent) located in four protected areas in Central Italy were studied in March, May and June 2002, with the aim to bring out relationships between environmental variables and the functional characteristics (functional feeding groups, habits and resistance to drought) of communities. Macroinvertebrates were collected in three mesohabitat types (macrophyte beds, littoral sediments, central sediments). Overall, the functional attributes of temporary and permanent pond communities did not differ greatly. However, at the mesohabitat scale, collector-gatherers, burrowers and permanent residents capable of passive dispersal were more abundant in sediments. Scrapers and shredders, sprawlers and climbers, swimmers and divers, and organisms capable of active dispersal which lack drought resistance were more abundant in macrophyte beds. Although hydroperiod is the main driving factor affecting community structure, our results suggest that it remains an unimportant factor in controlling functional traits, which appeared to be more influenced by substratum types. Moreover, the positive relationship between taxonomic and functional diversity metrics indicates that an increase in taxonomic richness induces a satisfactory partitioning of the ecological resources among taxa, thus maintaining the ecological complexity of the ponds regardless of their hydroperiod length.