Their are over 600 species of swallowtails in the world but only about 30 that are found in North America. Out of those aproximately 30 species we only see four hear in Minnesota, the eastern tiger swallowtail, Canadian tiger swallowtail, the black swallowtail and in the southeastern part of the state we have begun to see giant swallowtail. Must swallowtails are found in the tropical areas of the world.
Swallowtails are large colorful butterflies, the ones we have here in Minnesota are mostly yellow and black. All of their legs are full sized and fully functional, unlike butterflies in the brushfoot family, and most have tails, including all four that we have in Minnesota.
The easter tiger swallowtail is the most common found here in Minnesota. There are typically two broods of eastern tigers here per year, the first is from the middle of May to mid June and the second in from mid July to mid August. So far with our cold spring I have yet to see a swallowtail this year but it is still early. The first brood are swallowtails that over winter in their pupae or chysalis stage. In these photos the butterfly is sticking its proboscis, the tube it uses to drink nectar, into the sand looking for moisture.