The River Murray, Australia, is a highly regulated river from which almost 80% of mean annual flow is removed for human use, primarily irrigated agriculture. Consequent changes to the pattern and volume of river flow are reflected in floodplain hydrology and, therefore, the wetting/drying patterns of floodplain wetlands. To explore the significance of these changes, macroinvertebrate samples were compared between permanent and temporary wetlands following experimental flooding in a forested floodplain of the River Murray. Weekly samples from two permanent wetlands and four associated temporary sites were used to track changes in macroinvertebrate assemblage composition. Non-metric multidimensional scaling was used to ordinate the macroinvertebrate data, indicating consistent differences between the biota of permanent and temporary wetlands and between the initial and later assemblages in the temporary sites. There were marked changes over time, but little sign that the permanent and temporary assemblages were becoming more alike over the 25-week observation period. The apparent heterogeneity of these systems is of particular importance in developing river management plans which are likely to change flooding patterns. Such plans need to maintain a mosaic of wetland habitats if floodplain biodiversity is to be supported.