Could you explain why «coquille» is not accepted for "shell"? In LaRousse, «coquillage» appears to primarily mean the group of animals, and can refer to only the soft living part inside the shell. Indeed the first definition of «coquillage» is «Mollusque revêtu d'une coquille».
Freeform Writing Exercise A1
I can see your point but you wouldn't be looking for 'coquilles' on a beach but 'coquillages'.
Take a look at the following page which describes the difference well I think -
Hope it helps!
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