Calomys musculinus is the natural reservoir of Junin virus, the etiological agent of Argentine hemorrhagic fever. In this paper we measure the effective size of 2 populations of the rodent over a 2-year period. Twenty enzyme-coding loci were analyzed using vertical starch gel electrophoresis. Effective population sizes (Nes) were estimated by the pseudolikelihood method in 2 populations 280 km apart in central Argentina. Both populations experienced marked seasonal changes in relative density and in Ne (between 19.8 and infinity). Changes in percentage of polymorphic loci and mean number of alleles per locus were statistically significant and were roughly correlated with density and Ne. Observed changes in heterozygosity, in contrast, were not significant. After low-density periods, mixing of surviving individuals coming from different demes may play an important role in the maintenance of variability and recovery of Ne in populations of C. musculinus.
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