Maintaining cell shape and tone is crucial for the function and survival of cells and tissues. Mechanotransduction relies on the transformation of minuscule mechanical forces into high-fidelity electrical responses. When mechanoreceptors are stimulated, mechanically sensitive cation channels open and produce an inward transduction current that depolarizes the cell. For this process to operate effectively, the transduction machinery has to retain integrity and remain unfailingly independent of environmental changes. This is particularly challenging for poikilothermic organisms, where changes in temperature in the environment may impact the function of mechanoreceptor neurons. Thus, we wondered how insects whose habitat might quickly vary over several tens of degrees of temperature manage to maintain highly effective mechanical senses. We screened for Drosophila mutants with defective mechanical responses at elevated ambient temperatures, and identified a gene, spam, whose role is to protect the mechanosensory organ from massive cellular deformation caused by heat-induced osmotic imbalance. Here we show that Spam protein forms an extracellular shield that guards mechanosensory neurons from environmental insult. Remarkably, heterologously expressed Spam protein also endowed other cells with superb defence against physically and chemically induced deformation. We studied the mechanical impact of Spam coating and show that spam-coated cells are up to ten times stiffer than uncoated controls. Together, these results help explain how poikilothermic organisms preserve the architecture of critical cells during environmental stress, and illustrate an elegant and simple solution to such challenge.