Adult male (left) and female of Oreophoetes p. peruana (Oreophoetini)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Superorder: Exopterygota
Order: Phasmatodea
Suborder: Verophasmatodea
Superfamily: Anareolatae
Family: Diapheromeridae
Subfamily: Diapheromerinae
Kirby, 1904
3 tribes

Diapheromerinae is a subfamily of the stick insect family Diapheromeridae. They belong to the superfamily Anareolatae of suborder Verophasmatodea.[1]

The family contains the huge Paraphanocles keratosqueleton, often discussed under its obsolete name[2] Bostra maxwelli and known as Godhorse or Hag's Horse in Barbados. It belongs to the typical tribe of Diapheromerinae, the Diapheromerini. It grows to over 30 cm (12 in) long and is known for its slow-moving stick-like appearance. In A-Z of Barbados heritage, the species is discussed thus:

"Godhorse. The local name of unknown origin for the walking stick insect which may grow to 33 cm[verification needed]. [...] Many people are afraid of it, on the grounds that if given a chance, it will crawl into a human ear, though there is no record of any having done so. There is a superstitious belief that the presence of a godhorse around the house means a death will occur at the house. They are harmless to man but are generally disliked and Rev. Hughes common name of Hag's Horse conveys this."[3]


Three tribes are generally recognized in the Diapheromerinae. These, with some notable genera and species also listed, are:[1]

Diapheromerini Zompro, 2001[verification needed]

  • Bactricia Kirby, 1896
  • Diapheromera
    • Diapheromera femorata – Common American Walkingstick, Northern Walkingstick
  • Paraclonistria
  • Paraphanocles Zompro, 2001

Ocnophilini Günther, 1953

  • Dubiophasma
  • Exocnophila
  • Ocnophila
  • Ocnophiloidea
  • Parocnophilia

Oreophoetini Zompro, 2001

  • Oreophoetes
  • Oreophoetophasma


  1. ^ a b PSG (2009)
  2. ^ Bostra is actually the name for a genus of Pyralini snout moths
  3. ^ Carrington & Fraser (2003)


  • Carrington, Sean & Fraser, Henry C. (eds.) (2003): "Godhorse". In: A-Z of Barbados heritage: p.88. Macmillan Caribbean. ISBN 0333920686
  • Phasmid Study Group (PSG) (2009): Phasmida SpeciesFile – Diapheromerinae. Version of 2009-SEP-28. Retrieved 2011-APR-19.