This subfamily includes many genera formerly classed in other families and subfamilies, on the basis of fang type. It includes fangless (aglyphous), rear-fanged (opisthoglyphous), fixed-fanged (proteroglyphous), and viper-like (solenoglyphous) species. Early molecular and physiological data linking this subfamily to others were ambiguous and often contradictory, which means the taxonomy of this subfamily has been highly contentious. The nominate family, Atractaspididae, has itself been moved to and from other taxa, reinforcing the ambiguity of this subfamily.
Most of these snakes are inoffensive or far too small to envenomate a person effectively. However, some can inflict severe tissue necrosis; e.g. if the victim's thumb is bitten, the tip of that digit may be lost. Relapses may occur long after the bite. 
Very few deaths have resulted from accidents with these snakes, although large individuals of Atractaspis microlepidota and a few other long-glanded species are very likely to be dangerous. Some of the long-fanged species are able to stab their prey (or an unfortunate human) even while their mouths are closed, and the typical grasp used by herpetologists to securely hold venomous snakes is not necessarily safe for this group. This ability to stab sideways even with a closed mouth is the basis for an English name used for some of them - side-stabbing snakes.
|Subfamily Atractaspidinae -- 13 Genera|
|Common name||Geographic range|
|Amblyodipsas||Peters, 1857||9||Glossy snakes||Africa|
|Aparallactus||A. Smith, 1849||11||Centipede-eaters||Africa|
|Atractaspis||A. Smith, 1849||15||Burrowing asps, stiletto snakes||Africa, Middle-East|
|Brachyophis||Mocquard, 1888||1||Revoil's short snake||Africa|
|Chilorhinophis||Werner, 1907||3||Two-headed snakes||Africa|
|Elapotinus||Jan, 1862||1||Jan's snake||Africa|
|Hypoptophis||Boulenger, 1908||1||African bighead snake||Africa|
|Homoroselaps||?Welch 1994||2||Harlequin snakes||Southern Africa|
|Macrelaps||Boulenger, 1896||1||Natal black snake||Africa|
|Micrelaps||Boettger, 1880||5||Two-headed snakes||Africa, Middle-East|
|Poecilopholis||Boulenger, 1903||1||Cameroon racer||Africa|
|Xenocalamus||Günther, 1868||5||Quill-snouted snakes||Africa|
- List of atractaspidid species and subspecies
- Atractaspididae by common name
- Atractaspididae by taxonomic synonyms
- List of snakes, overview of all snake families and genera.
- Pyron, R. Alexander, et al. (2011). "The phylogeny of advanced snakes (Colubroidea), with discovery of a new subfamily and comparison of support methods for likelihood trees". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 58.2: 329–342. Archived from the original on 3 October 2013.
- "Atractaspididae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
- Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
- Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Ralph Curtis Books. Dubai: Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
- Parker HW, Grandison AGC. 1977. Snakes -- a natural history. Second Edition. British Museum (Natural History) and Cornell University Press. 108 pp. 16 plates. LCCCN 76-54625. ISBN 0-8014-1095-9 (cloth), ISBN 0-8014-9164-9 (paper).
- Atractaspididae at the TIGR Reptile Database
- Kurnik Haviv and Kochva (1999). A snake bite by the burrowing asp, Atractaspis engaddensis. Toxicon 37(1): 223-227.
- Deufel and Cundall (2003). Feeding in Atractaspis (Serpentes: Atractaspididae): a study in conflicting functional constraints. Zoology 106: 43-61.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Atractaspidinae.|
- Atractaspidinae at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 3 November 2008.
- Atractaspids at Life is Short but Snakes are Long
- Stiletto snakes at Tetrapod Zoology