This swallowtail butterfly greeted me this a.m. in my backyard. There are over 550 species of swallowtail globally and roughly 30 in the US. They are the largest butterfly species in North America. Their name comes from the forked wings that resemble swallows. Their wings are transparent, reflecting light through the scales of proteins that fall of while aging. It appears as 2 wings but there are actually four. The average life span of butterflies is 2-4 week. Swallowtail are solitary beauties and do not normally migrate. They communicate, as do all butterflies, through scent and sight. During mating males will do a dance of sort and pheromones to attract the female. Among others, they substitute on zinnias, oregano, purple coneflower, butterfly bush, overripe fruits, mud and some manure. Fill your yard with native plants that invite bees and butterflies. The Eastern tiger swallowtail (yellow one) is Georgia’s state butterfly.