Re-examination of the holotype of the stick insect species Heteronemia mexicana Gray, 1835, the type species of the genus Heteronemia Gray, 1835, has revealed this species to actually represent the suborder Areolatae. This discovery results in a number of dramatic nomenclatural alterations. As the family Heteronemiidae is based on Heteronemia , all of its more than 160 constituent genera but Heteronemia must be reallocated, being indeed members of the suborder Anareolatae. The Diapheromeridae Kirby, 1904, n.stat., being the next oldest available name, is thus allotted full family rank to encompass them. The following new synonymies have been established : generic synonyms of Heteronemia Gray, 1835 are Bacunculus Burmeister, 1838, Bactridium Saussure, 1868, Bacillidium Uvarov, 1939, and Donusa Stål, 1875. Synonyms of Heteronemia mexicana Gray, 1835, are Prisomera phyllopus Gray, 1835, Bacunculus spatulatus Burmeister, 1838, Bactridium coulonianum Saussure, 1868, Donusa prolixa Stål, 1875, Bacteria foliacea Blanchard, 1851, and Donusa glabriuscula Redtenbacher, 1906. Synonyms of Heteronemia chilensis (Westwood, 1859) are Bacteria cornuta Philippi, 1863, Bacteria collaris Philippi, 1863, and possibly Bacunculus blanchardi Camousseight, 1988. Heteronemia is rediagnosed, becoming the only genus in the family Heteronemiidae and comprising but two valid species, mexicana and chilensis , both from Chile. Hence the holotype of mexicana, claimed to derive from Mexico, was apparently mislabelled. A lectotype is designated for Bacunculus spatulatus Burmeister, 1838.