This species is found in waters of the Atlantic and Gulf slopes, the Mississippi Valley, and scattered parts of the eastern Great Lakes Basin in the United States from Minnesota south through the Mississippi Valley across the Gulf coast to Florida and north along the Atlantic coast to New York. It also can be found in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma, in the easternmost tributaries of the Red River, and throughout the Coastal Plain of Arkansas (but not in the Ozark Mountains). There are isolated populations in the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie drainages in New York, and the species has been reported in Wisconsin outside what is considered their native range, which suggests introduction. Populations on the Atlantic slope have been considered a subspecies (Aphredoderus sayanus sayanus) distinct from the subpopulation of the Mississippi Valley (A. s. gibbosus). The populations from the Gulf of Mexico drainage have been termed intermediate.

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