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Distributional patterns and species diversity of benthic insects in an alpine stream in Gunnison County, Colorado, USA were investigated on several levels of spatial scale, from faunal replacement over 1,000 vertical m to microdistribution within the stony substratum. Ecotones including zonation in terrestrial vegetation and in trout distribution did not appear to affect faunal replacement. Competition among congeners accounted for 7-30% of the cases, while in the majority of species, faunal replacement appeared to be associated with gradual changes in the physical gradient. Trout zonation may affect total numbers of insects, however, as the trout-free headwaters had two to six times higher insect densities. Microdistribution...