The importance of hydrodynamic processes for adult-larval interactions in the cockle, Cerastoderma edule, was examined through physical and numerical modeling. A set of physical experiments in a flow-tank using adult cockles and larval mimics showed that the settlement of particles was affected by adult cockles. Settlement was reduced by 20% in an area of 2.5 cm2 surrounding the siphons, and the most marked decrease occurred near the inhalant siphon. On a larger spatial scale downstream of the siphons, settlement was more heterogeneous compared to surfaces without cockles. The experimental results near individual cockles were compared with numerical models of settlement dynamics in conditions with no horizontal flow. The models suggest that the vertical position of the siphon orifice determines whether any small-scale reduction in larval settlement should be expected near suspension-feeding benthic invertebrates. The results are compared qualitatively and quantitatively with previous observations of small-scale patterns (≈1 cm) around individual C. edule and with observations of larger-scale (1-10 m) differences among patches with varying densities of cockles. These comparisons indicate that passive hydrodynamic processes can explain patterns around individual cockles, whereas a combination of active and passive processes are necessary to explain differences among patches. Such hydrodynamic modification of larval behavior has previously been reported to greatly increase rates of mortality for settling bivalve larvae.