Daphnia sarsi Daday, 1902 is redescribed from Patagonian populations and type material. Its taxonomic and nomenclatorial status is discussed. Because of the homonymy with D. sarsi Schödler, 1877, assigned to Australian populations, D. dadayana is proposed as new name. It is concluded that D. dadayana is a valid species with several morphological peculiarities and the proposed synonymies with D. carinata and D. similis can not be supported. Its subgeneric position is intermediate between Daphnia s. str. and Ctenodaphnia and there is an ontogenetical shift of the dorsocephalic suture from Ctenodaphnia-like to Daphnia-like. The possible origin of the group of species assigned to the subgenus Daphnia from a Ctenodaphnia-like ancestor is suggested.