We evaluated the influences of habitat connectivity and local environmental factors on the distribution and abundance patterns of fish functional groups in 17 floodplain lakes in the Yazoo River Basin, USA. The results of univariate and multivariate analyses showed that species-environmental relationships varied with the functional groups. Species richness and assemblage structure of periodic strategists showed strong and positive correlations with habitat connectivity. Densities of most equilibrium and opportunistic strategists decreased with habitat connectivity. Densities of certain equilibrium and opportunistic strategists increased with turbidity. Forested wetlands around the lakes were positively related to the densities of periodic and equilibrium strategists. These results suggest that decreases in habitat connectivity, forested wetland buffers and water quality resulting from environmental manipulations may cause local extinction of certain fish taxa and accelerate the dominance of tolerant fishes in floodplain lakes. ?? 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.