Can I sub-divide an armature?

I have a rather complex armature that I would like to divide in separate objects on different layers, to reduce the lag-time when posing.

“Move To Layer” or MKEY appears to only work on meshes. The documentation describes the PKEY, which separates a group of vertices into a separate object, but this doesn’t work for armatures.

Talk on #BlenderChat about this issue was of the opinion that subdividing ar armature is impossible and that I need to simply reconstruct each piece in their appropriate layer.

Do I have to re-rig my mesh or can I simply perform the armature version of “Move To Layer”?

Any ideas are most appreciated!

Not an expert on armatures, but you can ‘hide’ bones. I seen many complex armatures handled this way. Go to the edit window with bones selected that you want to hide, or all of them. You’ll see them listed with a button to push to ‘hide’ them.
I think this speeds things up, but only your testing will tell.
Hope this works for you.

You can also hide bones from Pose mode by selecting them and pressing H (just like you do for vertices). To unhide them though, you have to go through the toggle button while in Edit mode, like Pamtango explained.