[Note: Sense 1 was previously crawl-a-bottom.]
crawly-bottom n Also crawl-a-bottom, crawley-bottom, crawlie-~ chiefly TN, AL, GA
1 also crawlybottom minnow: Any of var small, bottom-feeding fish; usu a darter n 1 or (less freq) a freshwater sculpin n 1 of the genus Cottus; occas the hog sucker n. Note: The last identification is frequent in technical literature, presumably following D. S. Jordan (quot 1876 Ibid), but there does not appear to be any independent later evidence for it.
1876 Jordan in NY Acad. Sci. Annals Lyceum Nat. Hist. 11.311, Hadropterus nigrofasciatus [=Percina nigrofasciata]. . . My specimens were taken in small tributaries of the Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers, in clear, rapidly flowing water, with Percina caprodes. . . Known to the fisherman as Crawl-a-bottom. Ibid 346, Catostomus nigricans. var. etowanus [=Hypentelium etowanus]. Var. nov. . . Habitat. Water basin of the Etowah and Oostanaula, abounding in rapids and clear places. Known as Hog-molly (Mullet), Crawl-a-bottom, and Hog Sucker. 1877 Jordan & Copeland in Amer. Naturalist 86, We have often brought home with us a “Johnny,” “Speck,” or “Crawl-a-bottom,” of a different type from any of those whose habits we already knew. . . After much searching . . . we decided that our little friend was . . the “sand darter” (Pleurolepis pellucidus Agassiz [=Ammocrypta pellucida]). 1877 Jordan in NY Acad. Sci. Annals 1.95, Diplesium newmani [=Etheostoma newmani]. . . Crawl-a-bottom. . . Tennessee R. . . Diplesium simoterum [=Etheostoma simoterum]. . . Crawl-a-bottom. . . Rock Castle R., French Broad R. 1894 Jackson Argus (GA) 21 June /1, The party started back to Jackson with a string of fish consisting of two small cats, one mud cat, an eel, and three “Crawley bottoms.” 1909 Nashville Banner (TN) 11 June 6/4, There are now remaining in Sugar Creek one small sun-perch, one crawley-bottom, one mud-cat, one foxy-trout and one top-water not yet mentioned as a candidate for Governor.—Benton County Star. 1946 Nashville Tennessean (TN) 29 Sept sec C 4/8, To date, we have caught twelve turtles, four bugle-mouth bass, seven hog-suckers, and seventy-four crawly-bottoms. 1964 Nashville Tennessean (TN) 10 May sec E 4/3, Adding to the weight of Clayton’s report was H. F. Smith of Lawrenceburg. He strung a pair [of small-mouth bass] . . using the “crawlybottom” minnow. 1977 Anniston Star (AL) 30 Dec 1/1, The pygmy sculpin, who sports the countrified nickname crawly-bottom and is know scientifically as cottus pygmaeus [=Cottus paulus], is, according to Auburn University biologist Dr. John Ramsey, “phenomenally abundant in Coldwater Spring and the first 100 yards of Coldwater Creek.” 1983 N. Amer. Native Fishes Assoc. Amer. Currents 9.8.14 swTN, Our next stop . . was a canoe-rental establishment near Waynesboro, where . . we actually found someone who knew what a darter was (sort of). He called them “crawly bottoms,” and remarked that there were several around that location. 1990 PA Angler June 21/1, On the Tennessee River system, below the TVA dams of Wheeler in Alabama and Pickwick in Tennessee, the bronzebacks have been both plentiful and cooperative. . . Live bait can be deadly. One minnow species, the crawlie-bottom, is the odds-on favorite. 2014 in 2022 DARE File—Internet TN, We used to catch these with a cast net all the time in Kentucky Lake just below Pickwick Dam. The local name for these little baitfish is “crawley bottom” but their real name is Logperch. 2014 Ibid MO, Mom, Dad, David and I scoured the river [=Little Piney R.] for fish small enough to thrive in our self-designed “marine park.” We collected darters, crawley-bottoms (banded sculpins), hognose suckers, bleeding shiners, and even a few crawdads. 2020 Ibid nAL, [In response to a photograph of a fish identified by a number of other posters as a “logperch”:] Referred to as “Crawly Bottoms” in No. Alabama I think.
1954 Harder Coll. cwTN, Crawly-bottom: small insect or creature that moves around on the bottom of streams and ponds. 1962 Boozer Our Brother 105 neAL, He often set mine to touch bottom so I’d catch a “crawly bottom,” (a cray-fish). He’d take it off and chase me with it. 2003 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv. Endangered Species Bull. Mar/Apr 10, Whether you know them as mudbugs, ditch bugs, river lobsters, crawlybottoms, crawdads, or crawfish, anyone who has spent time in streams is familiar with crayfish. 2012 in 2020 DARE File—Internet neGA, Hellgramite also called crawly bottoms around here, find them in long hairy moss on rocks in shoals of river…their tuff!