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I'm looking for some information about the cycles of increased/decreased activity, mental performance or endurance that are related to a mammal's age and the time of a season.

First of all, I'm not sure what such cycles would be called. I know of circadian rhythm, which is an ~24 hour cycle. The other cycle I've heard about was circa-septan (7 days?). What keywords should I use to search for cycles that may have period of a month to several months?

The second question is - are there are episodes of increased activity/performance over a mammal's lifetime? I can think of two example - mating rituals may involve fighting and hibernation involves almost no movement at all. Are there additional events that may last more than a month?

The final question is if the age comes into equation of increased/decreased activity. Lets say a younger rat an and older rat are put into the same maze, would their ability to "solve" the maze be related to age?

This question is rather broad. Maybe there are some keywords or a science branch that deals with these questions and I can refine my search?

I appreciate your input!

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I think you have already answered your question of “are there such cycles?” – with that in mind, could you maybe make the question more directed to a single point that can be answered? –  Konrad Rudolph Jul 24 '12 at 14:44
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You could look for "seasonal rhythms" or "infradian rhythms" –  nico Jul 24 '12 at 16:27
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This "might" be considered as an answer to at least on of your questions. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder. I don't have the time now, but will likely have a full answer later tonight. –  LanceLafontaine Jul 25 '12 at 15:27
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1 Answer

With regard to episodes of increased activity/performance over a mammal's lifetime, I can add migration to breeding/mating and hibernation or torpor. Birds of course are better known for migration, but some mammals, notably in Africa migrate over an extended time.

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