Count bifurcations in a picture?

I am trying find a way to count pattern changes in images. The sample image is an insect structure surface. The idea the engineers have (I am a collaborating biologist) is that the Y’s or bifurcations in the strings of beads have structural or strength implications (ignore the rings in the beads). They want a way to count them in several pictures from several species. The sample image is just one from a sting of images to cover the length of one individual (field of view limitations). I realize it will probably require some grayscale or binary conversions and thresholding, but anything much beyond that is above my experience level.
There seem to be cell counting plugins, but what about a pattern (a Y turned various directions) counter?

Hi @beardeddie,
one approach when someone wants to quantify branches and bifurcations usually it’s the so called skeleton analysis.
Here a Fiji plugin that does it

The problem here is not this part, it is how to get the regions of interest (the binarization you were citing in your post).

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