A structural and functional analysis of macroinvertebrate taxa was made in order to relate species richness and functional feeding groups to hydrological, physico-chemical, nutritional and habitat characteristics of the main channel transects of the entire river Rhine. Species diversity was highest in the upstream parts, Hochrhein and Oberrhein, and lowest in the Mittelrhein, which might be related to the greater variety of habitats and of nutritional resources and the lower degree of pollution in the upstream sections. The relative contributions of the macroinvertebrate species over the various functional feeding groups was remarkably constant with collector species dominating the species composition in all river sections, suggesting an overall importance of FPOM as macroinvertebrate food in the sections studied. The relative share of shredder species suggests the importance of the input of CPOM in the entire river from tributaries, riparian and floodplain vegetation.