Catﬁshes are important in freshwater ecosystems not only as consumers, but also as essential partners in symbiotic relationships with other organisms. Freshwater mollusks are among the many organisms that have interactions with catﬁshes. For example, ictalurids are hosts for larvae of several native freshwater mussel species. The larvae, which attach brieﬂy to gills or ﬁns of ﬁsh to complete their development to the free-living juvenile stage, disperse via upstream and downstream movement of host ﬁsh. In turn, freshwater mussels serve as a food source for some catﬁsh species while other catﬁsh species may use spent mussel shells for habitat. Ictalurids also beneﬁt from the conservation status of many freshwater mussel species. Federal and state laws protecting these invertebrates can preserve water quality and habitat and, at times, provide incentives and funding for conservation and restoration of stream and riparian habitats.
Tiemann, JEREMY S., STEPHEN E. McMurray, M. CHRISTOPHER Barnhart, and G. THOMAS Watters. "A review of the interactions between catfishes and freshwater mollusks in North America." In American Fisheries Society Symposium, vol. 77, pp. 733-743. 2011.