New and archival collections from the Chelsey Drive Group of the Avalon terrane of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, yield late Cambrian trilobites and agnostoid arthropods with full convexity that contrast with compacted, often deformed material from shale and slate typical of Avalonian Britain. Four species of the agnostoid Lotagnostus form a stratigraphic succession in the upper Furongian (Ctenopyge tumida–Parabolina lobata zones). Two species, L. ponepunctus (Matthew, 1901) and L. germanus (Matthew, 1901) are previously named; L. salteri and L. matthewi are new. Lotagnostus trisectus (Salter, 1864), the type species of the genus, is restricted to compacted material from its type area in Malvern, England. Lotagnostus americanus (Billings, 1860) has been proposed as a globally appropriate index for the base of ‘Stage 10’ of the Cambrian. All four species from Avalonian Canada are differentiated clearly from L. americanus in its type area in Laurentian North America (i.e., from debris flow blocks in Taconian Quebec). In our view, putative occurrences of L. americanus from other Cambrian continents record very different species. Lotagnostus americanus cannot be recognized worldwide, and other taxa should be sought to define the base of Stage 10, such as the conodont Eoconodontus notchhpeakensis.