Sex ratio (SR) variation of Akodon azarae juvenile recruits was analysed during 1985–86 on a Pampean grassland in central Argentina. Rodents were intensively live-trapped on a 0.81 ha grid. The SR (proportion of males) of the overall population did not differ significantly from evenness (0.49). In contrast, juvenile recruits (0.5–2.0 months of age) showed SR fluctuations according to their time of birth. SR was strongly female-biased among spring and autumn juveniles (0.13 and 0.33, respectively), while males were predominant (0.72) among the summer juveniles.
Social and demographic implications of these results are discussed in the framework of current SR theory. Spring female recruits should be selected for summer reproduction and autumn female recruits for winter survival and spring reproduction. The overwintered population was characterized by 1:1 SR and an age structure composed of males older than females. Most of these males had been recruited as juveniles during the summer. They also made up most of the resident male population in the spring. A selective allocation of energy by the mothers among their offspring is the mechanism proposed to explain the seasonal changes in SR, as pregnant females which gave birth to the summer recruits were in better physical condition than the mothers of both spring and autumn recruits. These results are consistent with the predictions of Werren & Charnov (1978), based on temporal overproduction of one or the other sex according to differential changes in the life-history expectations for both sexes.