Dactylofusa veliferaCocchio 1982 is an easily recognisable, fusiform Ordovician acritarch species with a characteristic membrane. The taxonomy of this taxon is revised based on a literature review and on the investigation of new fossil assemblages from sections in South China. Morphological and biometric studies show that a subdivision into three varieties is justified. The taxonomical rank of Dactylofusa velifera var. brevis Albani 1989 is changed and its diagnosis is emended; Dactylofusa velifera var. velifera is the automatically created autonym. An additional new subspecific taxon is erected: Dactylofusa velifera var. sinensis var. nov. The stratigraphical and palaeogeographical occurrences of Dactylofusa velifera are reviewed, indicating that the species was widely distributed around the peri-Gondwanan margin during the Early Ordovician and early Middle Ordovician. Dactylofusa velifera is of biostratigraphical importance because its First Appearance Datum (FAD) can be used to indicate the late Tremadocian. Palaeobiogeographically, its distribution generally corresponds to that of the Early Ordovician ‘messaoudensis-trifidum’ acritarch assemblage in the peri-Gondwanan region.