The recurrent drying out of small streams in past decades has shown an urgent need to pay attention to the impact of global climate change. The objectives of this study were to describe the effect of drying out on the composition of the mayfly taxocene and evaluate the relevance of individual species traits for survival of mayflies to drying out. The mayfly taxocenes of two model localities, one at an intermittent and one at a permanent brook, were investigated in 2002, 2003 and 2005. Compared with the permanent stream, the taxocene of the intermittent stream was short of nine species, foremost rheobionts and high oxygen demand species. To explain further differences between both stream types in survival and recolonisation ability, 15 species traits were evaluated. These included so-called “ecological traits” (e.g., habitat and substrate range, density, distribution, current velocity adaptation) and “biological traits” connected with life cycle and larval/adult adaptations. Species showing the highest number of advantageous traits (with only exception of Electrogena sp. cf. ujhelyii — species of taxonomically unclear status) were able to successfully survive under the unfavourable conditions of the intermittent brook. Biological traits considered more important in many respects seem to be good predictors for assessing sensitivity to extreme temperature changes, hydrological regime fluctuations and the survival/recolonisation ability of species in exposed habitats.