Relationships between spacing behavior and growth rates were investigated in a field experiment with juvenile lizards, Anolis aeneus. The behavioral variable most closely related to juvenile growth was distance moved per unit time. This variable had a curvilinear relationship with growth, such that juveniles moving approximately 400 cm/h grew more rapidly than those traveling either larger or shorter distances per unit time. Daily fluctuations in arthropod abundance were also related to growth rates, with restricted growth during periods of low food availability. Temporal fluctuations in prey and distance traveled per unit time had independent effects on growth; together these two variables accounted for 43% of the variance in growth rate for the juveniles in this study.
Territory size, overlap and social status appeared to affect growth indirectly, by influencing distance traveled per unit time. Optimal travel distances of around 400 cm/h were most likely when a juvenile had a relatively exclusive territory of about 0.5 m2. High ranking juveniles were more apt to achieve this spacing pattern than were low ranking juveniles, but some high ranking juveniles had very large territories, extensive overlap with subordinates, supraoptimal travel distances and relatively low growth rates. Low ranking juveniles tended to fall into two groups: subordinates, with a small home range overlapping that of a more dominant individual and low travel distances, and floaters, with a large home range overlapping several more dominant individuals and high travel distances. Although a few low ranking juveniles achieved travel distances permitting high growth rates, most had either supra or suboptimal travel distances and relatively low growth rates.