In order to study the influence of dispersal ability on community structure of ground beetles (carabidae), 15 lake islands and 2 mainland sites of the lake Mamry archipelago, northern Poland, were sampled by using pitfall traps. Of the 71 ground beetle species detected, 47 were macropterous, 16 wing-dimorphic and 8 brachypterous. Macropterous species had lower site abundances and occupied fewer sites than dimorphic and brachypterous species. There were trends from macropterous to brachypterous species towards a nested distribution across the sites and towards over-dispersed (aggregated) species co-occurrences. Canonical correspondence analysis pointed to site isolation and area as main factors influencing site abundance and spatial distribution. Our results imply that further studies on species co-occurrences and community assembly have to consider dispersal ability as a key element influencing ecological distributions at the regional scale.