Systems with genetic variation for the primary sex ratio are important for testing sex-ratio theory and for understanding how this variation is maintained. Evidence is presented for heritable variation of the primary sex ratio in the harpacticoid copepod Tigriopus californicus. Variation in the primary sex ratio among families cannot be accounted for by Mendelian segregation of sex chromosomes. The covariance in sex phenotype between full-sibling clutches and between mothers and offspring suggests that this variation has a polygenic basis. Averaged over four replicates, the full-sibling heritability of sex tendency is 0.13 +/- 0.040; and the mother-offspring heritability of sex tendency is 0.31 +/- 0.216. Genetic correlations in the sex phenotype across two temperature treatments indicate large genotype-by-temperature interactions. Future experiments need to distinguish between zygotic, parental, or cytoplasmic mechanisms of sex determination in T. californicus.