1. The effect of macrophytes on the spatial distribution of littoral rotifers was examined in Lake Rotomanuka, New Zealand (37 degrees 55'S, 175 degrees 19'E). Total rotifer abundances and those of abundant species, were compared between three macrophyte species, Myriophyllum propinquum, Eleocharis sphacelata and Egeria densa, and spatially across a littoral transect in relation to these species.2. The abundances of many species, for example Euchlanis dilatata, Lecane closterocerca and L. lunaris, differed significantly between macrophyte species. More planktonic forms, Ascomorpha saltans, Keratella cochlearis and Synchaeta oblonga, however, showed no significant preference for macrophyte species.3. Differences in rotifer abundances were evident even when different species of macrophyte grew in close proximity to one another, indicating that variations in physical and chemical conditions, which occur in the littoral of Lake Rotomanuka, could be largely discounted for much of the variation between macrophyte species.4. Variation in rotifers between macrophytes was probably the result of a number of factors, including differences in macrophyte morphology, macrophyte age, epiphytic algal growths and the differential effects of predation by invertebrates and fish between macrophytes.5. Variability of rotifer abundances spatially across the ecotone was less marked than between macrophyte species. The species of macrophyte occurring, and therefore the community composition and distribution of macrophyte species in the littoral, appears to be a major influence in the spatial structuring of rotifer communities in the littoral region of lakes.