This slug like parasite is actually a symbiote. After attaching itself to a warmblooded host, it feeds off that being. However, its tenticles, growing under the skin, act as secondary nerves, increase the victims nerve responses.
A common mistake when writing adventures set in deserts is to assume that the climate is too ferociously hot to wear armor. Historically, most battles in deserts involved troops dressed in protective armor. Although they would have been miserable during the hottest part of the day or the hottest part of the year, desert weather isn't intolerably hot 24/7.